Altrincham is identity fraud capital of UK outside London, reveals Experian

news release


Altrincham is identity fraud capital of UK outside London, reveals Experian

East Ham, Romford and Bexleyheath are top hotspots for identity fraud in London
First-party fraud most prevalent in London with East Ham ranking highest

Nottingham, UK — Experian®, the global information services company, today reveals that Altrincham has become the top location for identity fraud in the UK outside certain parts of London. The Cheshire town recorded 13 fraud attempts for every 10,000 adults, with residents targeted at over three times the national average (four in every 10,000 adults). This compares with 11 attempts per 10,000 adults for London as a whole although there are areas of the Capital with significantly higher rates of identity fraud. Altrincham’s close neighbour, Stretford, in Greater Manchester, also appears in the UK’s top ten target location for fraudsters committing identity theft.

London as a whole experienced 11 attempts for every 10,000 adults, but with significantly higher rates in some inner-city boroughs such as East Ham which recorded 27 fraud attempts for every 10,000 adults in 2012, the highest in the UK, with individuals targeted at almost seven times the national average. Residents in Romford and Bexleyheath were also targeted at around five times the national average. Additional hotspots are to be found in the London commuter towns of Hatfield, Dartford and Camberley although the previous rise in fraud in Thames Valley and the Home Counties has slowed overall in 2012.

Experian’s Mosaic geo-demographic profiling analysis reveals that victims of identity theft are highest amongst the inner-city ‘Terraced Melting Pot’ group, typically those living in mixed urban neighbourhoods with low to middle incomes. Research also reveals that identity fraud victims are being targeted from more affluent towns in the vicinity of the UK’s major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and London. These people fall into the ‘New Homemakers’ Mosaic group, and comprise younger couples living in new starter homes on the outskirts of major towns and cities, typically with average incomes and a high demand for credit.

Indentity Fraud Hotspots

Nick Mothershaw, UK&I director of identity & fraud at Experian, comments: “It comes as no surprise that the Capital remains a target for third-party fraudsters – particularly around densely populated inner-city boroughs where identities are easier to steal. However, fraudsters are clearly attracted to rich pickings in more affluent areas, where access to an identity might be harder to obtain but the prize makes it worth the extra effort.  In this respect, more affluent locations in close proximity to major cities such as Altrincham in Cheshire, Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, Hatfield and St Albans by London, have become key targets for identity thieves. Clearly identity theft is not just confined to inner-city areas but is a UK-wide problem and a symptom of tougher economic times, highlighting the need for people everywhere to be increasingly vigilant.”

Mapping first-party fraud 1
Analysis reveals that London is still the leading location for first-party fraud with 19 cases per 10,000 adults with East Ham by far the worst with 78 cases per 10,000 adults. First-party fraud has risen in and around major UK cities including Birmingham, Manchester, London and Glasgow, and also in less affluent areas like West Bromwich, with 14 fraudulent applications recorded for every 10,000 adults. First-party fraud is where genuine individuals attempt to change their circumstances or hide adverse financial information to obtain credit which they may not be in a position to afford.
First Party fraud hotspots

Nick Mothershaw adds: “Our analysis of first-party fraud shows that, generally, it is those on low incomes, with thin or empty credit files, who are attempting to ease their financial position by misrepresenting applications or making exaggerated claims over their income and personal circumstances. However, a significant proportion of first-party fraud is now being perpetrated by the ‘Liberal Opinions’ Mosaic group. Typically these are young, well educated professionals living and working in London and other major cities.

“Across the financial services sector as a whole, it is vital that firms and other providers of credit recognise the financial and reputational risks associated with fraud, and put in place increasingly sophisticated identity verification and anti-fraud measures to combat the threat. Fraud prevention and detection tools which allow organisations to detect, monitor and assess risk will help firms identify anomalies within applications and check for signs of adverse credit histories. Individuals also have a role to play fighting the fraudsters by taking steps to protect their personal information.”

Experian’s Fraud Index is based on data derived from National Hunter and Insurance Hunter, the UK’s leading fraud prevention systems, operated by Experian on behalf of members.  These systems enable financial institutions to cross-match applications against over 100 million previous application records in order to spot commonalities and anomalies that are potentially indicative of fraud for further investigation.


Notes to Editors:

  1. First party fraud refers to fraud committed against a financial institution by the real consumer using their own identity. Typically it involves individuals changing their circumstances or hiding adverse financial information in order to obtain credit which they may not be able to afford. Third- party fraud (identity theft) is fraud committed by a fraudster using some else’s details to obtain goods or services. The hotspots identified in the research are where victims of identity theft are located, not where fraudsters originate. 
  2. The analysis covers first and third party frauds attempted during 2012.

Maddy Morgan Williams / Frances Chitoriski
020 7490 8828 /

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients around the world. The Group 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.

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 2013 was US$4.7 billion. Experian employs approximately 17,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

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