ID theft protection message not heard in the North East

Residents of the North East are more worried about ID theft than they were in July last year but less confident than anywhere else in the UK that they know exactly how to protect themselves.

The findings, part of online credit monitoring service, MyCallcredit's quarterly survey into attitudes towards ID theft, show that despite ID theft being the fastest growing crime in the UK, and the subject of a government awareness campaign, the message isn't getting through to people in the North East.

However, the news isn't all bad as the major cities in the North East have lower than average incidences of ID theft (1). Someone living in Newcastle or Durham is more than ten times less likely to have their ID stolen than someone living in London.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"People across the UK can take some really simple steps to protect themselves from ID thieves and although people in the North East are less likely than average to fall prey to these fraudsters they're also the least likely people in the UK to know how to combat the problem.

People need to shred personal documents before throwing them away, cancel their unused credit facilities and check their credit file regularly, only then can we begin to claw back the £1.3bn ID theft costs the UK economy each year."

Key Points
  • 83.4 per cent of people in the North East say they are concerned about ID theft now, in July last year 73.5 per cent claimed they were concerned but in October last year just 69.6 per cent expressed concern.
  • Across the UK as a whole 73.4 per cent of people say they are concerned about ID theft.
  • The number of North Easterners who say they know exactly how to protect themselves was 14.8 per cent in July last year jumping to 21.1 per cent in October and dropping to just 9.3 per cent now.
  • 16.1 per cent of people across the UK say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves.
  • When prompted 88.7 per cent of those in the North East correctly said that shredding personal documents before throwing them away would help in the fight against ID thieves compared to 83.8 per cent nationally.
  • 65.1 per cent of people living in the North East said they would know in a matter of weeks if they'd become a victim of ID thieves, in reality it can take many months before the crime comes to light.
  • 28.1 per cent of North Easterners admitted they didn't know when they'd become aware they'd been a victim of ID theft.
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 simple guidelines people can protect themselves from all types of impersonation fraud and minimise the hassle and losses incurred if they are unlucky enough to fall prey to fraudsters.
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 to see what information is held about you.
  • Be vigilant and check your financial statements.
Editors notes
  1. Research by MyCallcredit, which compared the number of recorded incidences of ID theft by postcode as a percentage of the population based on Census figures, provided the city and town analysis.
  2. The attitudes to ID theft research was carried out for MyCallcredit by NEMS market research among 1050 adults between 3 and 8 January 2006.