Cases of identity fraud surge by 20%
Experian reveals shocking new research indicating the prevalence of identity fraud in the UK
Nottingham, 19 March 2010 — Identity fraud is on the increase again and is more widespread than ever. New research released today by Experian®, the global information services company, has revealed that the number of identity fraud victims who sought help from Experian last year leapt by nearly 20% compared to the year before. In 2009, 5,353 new victims from across the UK contacted Experian’s Victims of Fraud service for help in reclaiming their identities.
Year on year, reported fraud rose most sharply in early summer, rising by 57% in May and by 74% in June – the highest number ever reported to Experian in any single month. The average financial loss per victim was £1,100 in 2009 and the most extreme loss reported to Experian was for almost £59,000. People are also taking longer to discover that they have become a victim of fraud, indicating that fraudsters are getting better at covering their tracks; the average time taken is now 416 days, up 17 days compared to 2008.
Who is most at risk?
As figures continue to soar, the most noticeable trend from Experian’s Victims of Fraud report published today is that organised criminal fraudsters are not solely focusing on the wealthy but are now turning their attentions to the mass market. There are increasingly higher volumes of lower value fraud crimes being committed against the more vulnerable groups, including the retired and young, low-income families.
Peter Turner from Experian’s CreditExpert.co.uk service comments “Sadly, almost every UK demographic is now represented in the top 10 most at-risk groups, proof that identity fraud is sweeping the nation. By believing in the misconception that only the well-off are fraud targets, less affluent consumers are not protecting their identity and are actually putting themselves at an increased risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
“Our CreditExpert service alerts members to new applications for credit, enabling them to take action before they become a victim of this invasive crime. Without this knowledge an individual’s identity can be exploited undetected for months – even years – with devastating effects.”
Key statistics - those at risk
Less affluent people are increasingly more likely to become victims of identity fraud. Those most at risk included people living in flats with communal halls and shared postal deliveries or those who move frequently.
As fraudsters change the profile of their victims, so the age of their target changes, with younger people more likely to suffer than ever before. The 18-34 age group now accounts for a third of all those affected.
Young people living alone and single parents, both on limited incomes and likely to rent, are also at high risk. Young singles and single parents getting by on low incomes have a risk index of 162. Again the dangers of communal hallways and shared postal deliveries contribute to their overall risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud.
While fraudsters’ attentions are widening, affluent people still continue to be at high risk. Wealthy directors and business owners were the most commonly targeted group in 2009 with a risk index of 306, meaning that this group has more than treble the average risk of having their identities stolen.
The UK’s fraud hotspots
As organised fraudsters focus on targeting more susceptible victims en masse, Experian’s fraud map paints a disturbing picture.
Whilst areas of London such as Kensington and Chelsea remain the heartland of identify fraud, less affluent areas both sides of the M25 are reporting increased cases of fraud. Areas such as Stratford (large numbers of low income families) and Clapham Junction (with dense populations of young singles and high-flying graduates) are moving up the areas most at risk. Outside the capital Salford (The Quays), Glasgow (Morrison Street) and Manchester (Liverpool Street) all feature in the top five most at-risk postcodes outside London.
Charlotte Ruddlesdin, Resonate PR
020 7861 2525/07747 020266
Matt Henson, Resonate PR
020 7861 2525/07824 461900
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 65 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.
For more information, visit http://www.experian.co.uk.
Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2009 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil.
For more information, visit http://www.experianplc.com.