Not enough Southerners getting ID theft message

Southerners are more confident than any other Britons that they know how to combat ID thieves but there's still a long way to go according to the latest research by online credit monitoring service MyCallcredit.

Its quarterly ID theft research shows that despite a high profile government campaign alerting people to the dangers of the fastest growing fraud in the UK, and the measures people can take to protect themselves, only one in two resident of Southern England know exactly how to combat ID thieves.

And nearly eight out of ten Southerners still believe they would know in a matter of weeks if they'd fallen prey to fraudsters when in reality it can take many months for the crime to come to light.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"While Southerners score highest in terms of being confident they can protect themselves it's still a very low proportion at just 22.3 per cent of the population. And Southerners are the second most 'at risk' region behind London with Bromley, Sutton, Chelmsford and Redhill all suffering from a higher than average incidence of ID theft.

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 South 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
  • The risk of ID theft in Bromley is twice as high as it is for people living in Oxford or Reading.
  • 74.9 per cent of Southerners say they are concerned about ID theft now, in July last year 68 per cent claimed they were concerned and in October last year 78.4 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 Southerners who say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves was 24.8 per cent in July last year, 17.3 per cent in October and is 22.3 per cent now, the highest level of confidence in the country
  • 16.1 per cent of people across the UK say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves.
  • When prompted 84.9 per cent of Southerners 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.
  • 78.9 per cent of Southerners, the highest level in the UK, 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.
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.