East Anglians underestimate the risk of ID theft

East Anglians say they are more aware of the dangers of ID theft than they were a year ago but the majority still underestimate the likelihood they will become a victim, some by as much as 15 times.

Research carried out for online credit report service MyCallcredit also revealed that the vast majority of East Anglians take measures to protect themselves, like shredding personal documents, checking their credit file and cancelling unused credit facilities.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"It's good to see that awareness of ID theft is growing and the majority of people in East Anglia protect themselves, even if more than half of them still underestimate their likelihood of becoming a victim.

And people are completely unaware of the impact it will have on their lives while they correct the trail left by the criminals on their credit file.

Even simple things like being granted a mobile phone contract can be made impossible if a fraudster has had an impact on your credit file. Your life really does get put on hold until the damage has been investigated and put right and that can take many months."

Key Points
  • 42.2 per cent of people living in East Anglia correctly identified the risk of ID theft as one in 1000 compared to 36.7 per cent nationally.
  • 26.1 per cent of people in East Anglia estimate the ID theft risk to be 15 times less at one in 15000, against a national average of 23 per cent.
  • 54.6 per cent of people living in East Anglia say they are more aware of the risks of ID theft than they were a year ago against 65.7 per cent nationally.
  • 84.3 per cent of people in East Anglia take measures to protect themselves from ID thieves, like shredding personal documents and checking their credit file, compared to an average of 85.9 per cent.
What is ID theft
  • ID theft is an all-encompassing term for different types of fraud committed in another person's name.
  • The most common type of fraud involves someone stealing your card details and using them to make purchases or withdraw cash.
  • But it can also be when someone takes over your identity completely and applies for loans, mortgages, passports or a driving license in your name.
  • By following our guidelines people can protect themselves from all types of impersonation fraud and minimise the time and hassle involved in restoring their credit file to its correct state.
How to protect yourself from ID thieves
  • Shred personal documents before disposing of them.
  • Cancel unused credit facilities.
  • Don't give personal information to anyone, however legitimate they may seem, without first confirming who they are and why they want the information.
  • Check your credit file regularly and sign up to a service which alerts you to any changes on your credit file - often the first indication you will have that a fraudster has got hold of your ID.
Editors Notes
  1. The research was carried out for MyCallcredit by NEMS market research among 1040 adults between 31 March and 5 April 2006.