Londoners confidence on ID theft misplaced

Londoners are the least concerned about ID theft, one of the least likely to know how to protect themselves and at greatest risk of becoming a victim of ID fraudsters according to the latest research from online credit monitoring service MyCallcredit.

Its quarterly ID theft research shows that despite a high profile government campaign alerting people to the dangers of the fastest growing fraud in the UK, and measures people can take to protect themselves, the residents of the capital are apathetic and uneducated in comparison to the rest of the UK.

Less than one in two knows exactly how to combat ID thieves, and seven out of ten still believe they would know in a matter of weeks if they'd fallen prey to fraudsters when in reality it can take many months for the crime to come to light.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"The findings in the capital are particularly worrying, there is the lowest level of concern and one of the highest levels of ignorance. Combine this with the greatest risk and ID thieves are set to prosper unless the residents of London take some action.

By taking a few simple steps, shredding personal documents before throwing them away, cancelling unused credit facilities and checking their credit file regularly, everyone in London can protect themselves from fraudsters, only then can we begin to claw back the £1.3bn ID theft costs the UK economy each year."

Key Points
  • The risk of ID theft across London is higher than anywhere else in the country.
  • 64.3 per cent of Londoners, the lowest across the country, say they are concerned about ID theft now, in July last year 72.5 per cent claimed they were concerned and in October last year 71.8 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 Londoners who say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves rose from 17.8 per cent in July last year to 20.4 per cent in October and dropped to 15 per cent now, lower than people in Yorkshire, Wales and East Anglia.
  • 16.1 per cent of people across the UK say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves.
  • When prompted 74 per cent of Londoners, the lowest level in the UK, 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.
  • 73.4 per cent of Londoners, the third highest level in the UK, 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.
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.