News Release

Contact:
Andrea Budd
Communications Manager, Interactive
+44 (0) 203 042 4893 Tel
andrea.budd@uk.experian.com Email

 

Young, single renters biggest target for ID fraudsters

CreditExpert research reveals people most at risk of ID fraud and the UK’s ID fraud hotspots

 

New research from CreditExpert, the ID fraud protection service from Experian®, reveals that identity fraudsters across the country are turning their attention from the wealthy to lower income victims living in rented accommodation where their personal details are most vulnerable.

 

According to CreditExpert’s analysis, the top three groups most likely to become victims of ID fraud in the UK live in rented houses and flats in and around cities. Of these, the group most at risk are young professionals renting property in London and Glasgow. These groups are more than twice as likely to become victims of identity fraud as the average person, with a risk score of 223, compared to the national average of 100.

 

With a risk score of 184, the second biggest target group for ID fraudsters are young, single people and home sharers working in service industries and living in flats rented predominantly from the council or housing associations. Graduates renting in good areas while saving for a mortgage deposit are the third most likely group to become victims of ID fraud, while wealthy company directors and business owners at the pinnacle of their success make up the list of the top four groups most likely to become victims of ID fraud.

 

People who rent or have shared hallways are the easiest targets for mail interception, a key tactic used by fraudsters. Renters are also vulnerable because of their tendency to move more often than home owners and by not redirecting their mail they leave themselves exposed to the threat of previous address fraud.

 

The ten most at-risk groups identified by CreditExpert’s analysis are:

 

Rank

Description

Index

1

Young singles often in shared rented accommodation who are earning reasonable wages and are optimistic for the future

223

2

Singles in their 30s in mostly council rented flats. Unemployment is a problem but debts are usually controlled

184

3

High-flying graduates privately renting in good areas while they pay off student debts and save for a mortgage deposit

168

4

Company directors and business owners. Very wealthy individuals at the pinnacle of successful careers

167

5

Highest income earners in premium price city flats and residences

 

154

6

Heads of families with considerable incomes but with a very large mortgage leaving little spare to save

152

7

Professionals, company directors and managers with high incomes but still accumulating assets

135

8

Young, cohabiting couples and friends currently relying on overdrafts but with future potential

132

9

Successful professionals or managers who are mostly living alone

 

120

10

Professionals who have had successful careers and are now approaching retirement. Likely to be in a senior management position with the salary to match

120

       (Index shows level of risk, 100 is UK average.)                                            Source: Experian

 

The UK’s identity fraud hotspots

By analysing the types of people that became victims of ID fraud in 2008, CreditExpert has identified the UK’s identity fraud hotspots – where the highest proportions of at-risk residents live.

 

London remains the identity fraud capital of the UK, with residents almost four times as likely to fall victim compared with the average score across the UK.  With a risk score of 638, Kensington continues to be the capital’s worst identity fraud hotspot, with residents – on average – over six times more likely to fall victim compared with the UK average.

 

Residents of Victoria (629), Clapham Junction (628) and Hammersmith (625) are also amongst those at highest risk. The top 25 most-at-risk areas in London (inside the M25) are:

 

Rank

Major town/territory in London

Index

 

Rank

Major town/territory in London

Index

1

Kensington

638

 

14

London West End

578

2

Victoria

629

 

15

Ealing Broadway

567

3

Clapham Junction

628

 

16

Tooting

559

4

Hammersmith

625

 

17

Lewisham

547

5

Queensway

623

 

18

Richmond

516

6

Chelsea

619

 

19

Walthamstow

457

7

Liverpool Street & Bishopsgate

618

 

20

Wimbledon

429

8

Stratford

618

 

21

Harrow

424

9

Putney

603

 

22

Hounslow

423

10

Chiswick

597

 

23

Croydon

403

11

Cheapside

590

 

24

Woolwich

382

12

Wood Green

583

 

25

Kingston upon Thames

366

13

East Ham

578

 

 

 

 

 Source: Experian

 

 

 

Outside London, commuter towns such as St Albans (300), Guildford (260) and Windsor (238) also have high concentrations of the most at-risk consumer types. Birmingham (171), Edinburgh (143) and Glasgow (134) join the list of the UK’s major cities where the threat of ID fraud is higher than average. Analysis of the research reveals the top 25 most-at-risk areas out of London (outside the M25) are:

 

Rank

Major town/territory outside London

Index

 

Rank

Major town/territory outside London

Index

1

St Albans

300

 

14

Hemel Hempstead

153

2

Slough

291

 

15

Winchester

151

3

Guildford

260

 

16

Farnham

150

4

Windsor

238

 

17

Welwyn Garden City

150

5

Maidenhead

229

 

18

Tunbridge Wells

146

6

Woking

224

 

19

Edinburgh - Princes Street

143

7

High Wycombe

218

 

20

Birmingham - Kings Heath

141

8

Bracknell

185

 

21

Oxford

139

9

Reading

182

 

22

Brentwood

138

10

Birmingham Central

171

 

23

Brighton Central

137

11

Camberley

164

 

24

Glasgow Central

134

12

Tonbridge

160

 

25

Farnborough

130

13

Hatfield

156

 

 

 

 

 Source: Experian

 

Fraud techniques and discovery

Analysis of fraud incidents reported to Experian reveal that present address fraud continues to grow and is now the most commonly perpetrated method, representing 36 per cent of all identity fraud committed. Previous address fraud is the second most common method of identity fraud, accounting for 30 per cent of all cases, while forwarding address fraud is the method used for 29 per cent of identity fraud.

 

In 2008, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of victims of identity fraud discovered they had become a victim by noticing fraudulent activity on their credit report, while 15 per cent of victims discovered their identity had been compromised after being contacted by a financial services company.

 

Darryl Bowman, Director of CreditExpert, comments: “Criminals are switching their focus from the wealthy to people whose details they can get hold of more easily.  Because of this, each one of us needs to be aware of the dangers of ID fraud and take steps to protect our identity and stop thieves from getting access to our personal information. One thing you can do is regularly check your credit report so you can spot unfamiliar activity, such as a fraudulent loan application in your name.”

CreditExpert’s top tips for preventing identity fraud:

 

1. Regularly monitor your credit report

Using an online service such as Experian’s CreditExpert allows you to check your report for unauthorised or suspicious activity, such as new accounts in your name that you didn’t open or credit searches by companies you haven’t dealt with.

 

2. Watch out for your mail

Fraudsters often obtain documents by stealing or redirecting mail – so keep an eye out for post that you’re expecting and report missing items quickly. Look for your credit card bills arriving when you expect them to: if your account has been taken over then the bill will probably stop coming as the fraudster will have changed your address on the account.

 

3. Destroy documents showing your personal details before throwing them away

Be careful about discarding anything with your name, address or other details on it. The documents can be used to open accounts in your name. Use a shredder to destroy bank statements, utility bills, application forms, chequebook stubs and card receipts.

 

4. Keep your information up to date

Make sure your bank and organisations such as your mobile phone provider are informed of any changes of address. This prevents any document that includes your vital details falling in to the wrong hands. When anyone fraudulently applies for an account under your name and previous address, this will be automatically flagged if that organisation is using electronic authentication. You should also register to vote at your new address as soon as possible.

 

5. Forward your mail if you move house

If you move home, have your mail forwarded to your new address for at least six months.

 

6. Be careful who you give your information to

Fraudsters will try to get you to give them your identity. On the Internet, or in your email look out for phishing attacks where a fraudster will try to get you to disclose your personal details or logon and password information for your online banking. Also, beware of phone calls, purporting to come from your bank or another trusted organisation, asking you for personal or security information.

 

ENDS…

 

Top