Midlanders need to take action to combat ID thieves

ID theft research by online credit monitoring service MyCallcredit reveals Midlanders knowledge of ID theft hasn't improved since July last year despite a high profile government awareness campaign designed to help people beat the fastest growing fraud in the UK.

Its quarterly ID theft survey shows seven out of ten people in the Midlands have remained consistently concerned about ID theft but the number who know exactly how to protect themselves has fallen from one in four last July to less than one in five now.

Equally worrying is the fact seven out of ten people still believe they would know in a matter of weeks if they were a victim of ID theft when in reality it can take many months for the crime to be discovered.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"Birmingham is the only place in the Midlands which has a higher than average risk of ID theft but it is the fastest growing fraud in the UK and people need to take action now to beat these criminals.

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 the Midlands 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
  • Birmingham is the ID theft hotspot of the Midlands where the risk of ID theft is higher than the average across the UK. The incidence of ID theft in Coventry, Northampton, Nottingham and Leicester is below the UK average.
  • 75.8 per cent of Midlanders say they are concerned about ID theft now, in July last year 73.2 per cent claimed they were concerned but in October last year 72.7 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 Midlanders who say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves dropped from 24.7 per cent in July last year to 12.9 per cent in October and grew to 16 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 86.6 per cent of Midlanders 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.
  • 69.9 per cent of people in the Midlands 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.
  • 22.9 per cent of Midlanders 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.