Moving house? Don't forget your identity
Online credit monitoring service MyCallcredit warns home movers to get their identity in order before they move house to reduce their risk of identity theft and being turned down for credit.
MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:
"Nearly a quarter of home movers don't have their post re-directed to their new address so it's no surprise almost half of all cases of ID theft in the UK happen at a previous address (1) - people are handing fraudsters everything they need on a plate.
Moving is stressful enough already without having to deal with the impact a fraudster can have on your life. If you don't sort out your post, documents which can identify you, and your credit file, you could be in for months of misery where you can't even sign up for a new mobile phone."
Homeowners who don't protect their identity before a move are at risk from:
- Identity fraud - a fraudster could obtain enough information about you from post that isn't re-directed, old catalogues, or rubbish that you've left behind, to run up debts at your old address without your knowledge. People who just cut up a card and don't tell their lender are particularly at risk from this type of fraud as they've written it off but the account is still live and the lender will continue communications.
- Credit refusal - a person's credit history has to add up to the lender when you apply for credit, if you don't appear on the Electoral Roll at your new address it will make it more difficult to get credit.
How to prepare your identity for a move
- Get your paperwork in order - shred any documents you're not going to move with you and get rid of them.
- Check your credit file online to see what information is held about you.
- Inform lenders of any unused credit facilities that can be closed.
- Check for old catalogues you've used to buy things in the past and inform the supplier that you are moving.
- Don't apply for new credit you don't need just in case - ask your lender for an agreement in principle instead.
How to move your identity
- Register on the Electoral Roll at your new address immediately.
- Inform all lenders of your change of your address.
- Contact the Royal Mail and arrange for your mail to be re-directed to your new address for a year.
- Consider registering free with the Mailing Preference Service. They will ensure your name is removed from direct marketing lists at your previous address.
- Prudential research dated 28.04.06 revealed half of all identity theft happens at a previous address, one in five people moving home does not see re-directing mail as a priority and 23 per cent of households have received bank statements addressed to a previous resident.