ID theft increases in eight out of ten towns

The incidence of ID theft has increased in eight out of ten towns in the UK over the last six months according to research from credit monitoring service MyCallcredit.

Its research analysed the incidence of ID theft as a percentage of the population in the 120 main postal towns in the UK.

The findings reveal London is still the overall ID theft hotspot of the UK but Wigan has seen a 50 per cent increase in cases of ID theft while Huddersfield has seen a 38 per cent growth in recorded victims over the last six months.

Overall, the number of recorded incidences of ID theft has risen by 10 per cent since August last year, which means one in every thousand people in the UK has now fallen victim to ID thieves.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"ID theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK and our research shows what a difference six months can make. Only 23 post towns in the UK have seen a fall in the number of victims of ID theft and its incidence in the population has grown significantly.

Criminals use stolen personal details to assume your identity and fraudulently open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans, state benefits and other documents in your name.

However, there are some very simple and practical ways you can protect yourself from identity theft and fraud, for example everyone should shred personal documents such as bills, receipts, statements and even unwanted post.

Also, regularly checking your credit file will ensure you are quickly alerted to any fraudulent attempts to obtain credit in your name.

Key Findings
  • In the last six months the overall incidence of ID theft in the population has grown by 10 per cent.
  • 97 of the 120 postcodes analysed have seen an increase in the number of victims of ID theft since August last year.
  • London is the UK ID theft hotspot - in east central London more than four in every thousand people has been a victim of ID theft.
  • In Scotland the ID theft hotspot is Glasgow.
  • In Wales the ID theft hotspot is Cardiff.
  • In the North West the ID theft hotspot is Manchester.
  • In the North East the ID theft hotspot is Sunderland.
  • In Yorkshire & the Humber the ID theft hotspot is Huddersfield.
  • Birmingham is the ID theft hotspot of the Midlands.
  • Londoners with an EC postcode are most likely to be victims of ID theft.
  • Southend on Sea is the Southern ID theft hotspot.
  • ID theft is relatively rare in Northern Ireland. Someone living in London is 20 times more likely to have their ID stolen than someone living in Belfast.
How to protect yourself from ID theft and fraud
  • Shred any personal documents before disposing of them
  • Be vigilant, log on to www.mycallcredit.com and check your credit file.
  • Write to lenders who are listing a credit facility you don't want and cancel it.
  • When you cut up a card or stop using it inform the lender.
  • Keep important documents in a safe place at home - like a lockable drawer.
  • If you move house arrange for your post to be redirected by the Royal Mail for at least a year.