Londoners underestimate risk of ID theft

Four out of five (82.2 per cent) Londoners are concerned about identity theft, according to research from online credit report service MyCallcredit.

But only one in three (34.4 per cent) could correctly identify that their likelihood of becoming a victim is one in 1000 - the remainder of Londerners surveyed drastically underestimated their risk, some by as much as 15 times.

Seven out of ten thought it was their own responsibility to protect themselves from ID thieves and said they knew what to do, but three out of ten said the main responsibility for protection lies with lenders and the police.

Callcredit director Mel Mitchley says:

"It's encouraging that Londoners are aware of the ID theft problem and confident that they know what to do to protect themselves.

But they can't afford to underestimate the risks and must do all they can themselves to make life tough for ID thieves. It's also really important that people know the pointers to look for that would suggest their ID had been stolen."

Key Findings
  • 82.2 per cent of Londoners are concerned about ID theft.
  • 71.1 per cent say they know how to protect themselves from ID theft.
  • 8.6 per cent of Londoners say the police bear the main responsibility for protecting Britons from ID theft.
  • 21.6 per cent say it is the responsibility of lenders against a national average of16.9
  • 69.8 per cent say they themselves shoulder the main responsibility (below the 73.9 per cent national average)
  • Men are more likely than women to think lenders bear the main responsibility for protecting us against ID theft, 23.3 per cent against 14.2 per cent.
  • Women are more likely to rely on themselves for protection against ID theft than men, 77.4 per cent against 70.3 per cent. Only 34.4 per cent of Londoners correctly identified that their chance of becoming a victim of ID theft was one in 1000.
  • Young people aged between 16 to 24 are more aware of the risk of ID theft than any other age group with 42 per cent correctly identifying that the risk of having their ID stolen is one in 1000.
  • Pensioners over the age of 65 are the most likely to underestimate their risk of falling victim to ID theft with 26.2 per cent saying the chances are one in 15000.
  • Pensioners are also most likely to say they are not concerned about having their ID stolen, 35 per cent against a national average of 23.2 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 among 1003 people for MyCallcredit by NEMS Market Research between 3 and 9 August 2006.