Londoners most at risk from ID theft

Londoners are most likely to have their identity stolen but they are less concerned than the rest of the country about it and also less likely to know how to protect themselves according to research from credit reference agency MyCallcredit.

Its research, which analysed the incidence of ID theft as a percentage of the population in each postcode area of the UK, found that people living in West Central London were the most likely to have their ID stolen.

Of the ten worst postcodes in the UK for ID theft seven were in London with the remainder just outside London.

Shetland was the postcode which had the lowest incidence of ID theft while Swansea, Llandudno, Plymouth, Inverness and Lancaster also appeared in the ten places where people were least likely to have had their ID stolen.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"ID theft is a growing problem and people are concerned about it. Our research shows that seven out of ten Britons are concerned but less than two in ten know how to protect themselves.

"It's also interesting that Londoners, who are most at risk from having their ID stolen are less concerned than the rest of the UK about it and don't know what to do to protect themselves.

"Conversely, those in Scotland are most concerned about having their ID stolen but of all the postcodes in Scotland only Glasgow has a higher than average incidence of ID theft and in the outer areas it's significantly safer than the rest of the UK.

"People can protect themselves from ID theft by shredding financial documents, checking their credit file regularly and cancelling unused credit facilities."

Key Findings
  • Key UK cities including London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester all have an above average ID theft incidence.
  • Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle all have an incidence of ID theft which is below average.
  • Despite ID theft having grown 600 per cent over the last five years its incidence in the population is very small at less than 0.1 per cent.
How to protect yourself from ID 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.
Top Ten ID theft postcodes
WC London West Central
EC London East Central
N London North
E London East
SE London South East
NW London North West
IG Ilford
EN Enfield
W London West
HA Harrow
Bottom Ten ID theft postcodes
PL Plymouth
SA Swansea
BT Belfast
LA Lancaster
LL Llandudno
IV Inverness
HS Hebrides
LD Llandrindod Wells
KW Kirkwall and Wick
ZE Shetland
Editors Notes
  1. Callcredit analysed postcode population figures from the 2001 consensus against actual incidences of ID theft as recorded by CIFAS to work out the percentage incidence within the population for each postcode.
  2. CIFAS offers a protective registration service for victims to protect their identity from misuse. For further details refer to the CIFAS website www.cifas.org.uk/protective_registration.asp. Every impersonation can take up to 60 hours of work for a typical victim to sort out their life and clear their name. CIFAS provides information for consumers on ID fraud, both as a leaflet and from its consumer information website www.identityfraud.org.uk.