Londoners unaware of ID theft risk

Londoners are more at risk of ID theft than anywhere else in the country and drastically underestimate the risk they face according to the latest research from online credit report service MyCallcredit.

Its research revealed a quarter of Londoners believe their risk of becoming a victim of ID theft is one in 15000 whereas in some parts of London one in 250 people has already been a victim of ID thieves.

However, on a more positive note the vast majority of Londoners say they take measures to protect themselves from ID thieves like shredding personal documents and checking their credit file, and two out of three say they are more aware of the risks than they were a year ago.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"It's good to see that awareness of ID theft is growing and most people in London protect themselves even if the majority still vastly 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
  • 27.4 per cent of people living in London estimate the risk of ID theft to be one in 15000 compared to 23 per cent nationally.
  • Four people in every 1000 who live in North London have already fallen victim to ID thieves compared to an average of one in 1000 in the rest of the UK.
  • 65.7 per cent of people living in London say they are more aware of the risks of ID theft than they were a year ago which mirrors the 65.7 per cent nationally.
  • 83.7 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.