04
April
2006
|
00:00
Europe/Amsterdam

Residents of the North East underestimate the risk of ID theft

Residents of the North East say they are more aware of the risk of ID theft than they were a year ago but they are less likely than average to correctly identify their chances of becoming a victim, or take measures to protect themselves.

The research carried out for online credit report service MyCallcredit also revealed that the majority of people who don't take measures to protect themselves say they can't be bothered or think it won't happen to them.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"Two out of three people who live in the North East say they are more aware of the risks of ID theft than they were a year ago but they're less likely than average to correctly identify the chance of becoming a victim as one in 1000.

And in some areas of the North East it's a growing problem, Sunderland saw a 35 per cent rise in the number of victims of ID theft between October last year and February this year. In Darlington the rise was 27 per cent and in Newcastle it was 16 per cent.

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. You life really does get put on hold until the damage has been investigated and put right and that can take many months."

Key Points
  • People in the North East are similar to the rest of the UK in that two out of three (66.9 per cent against an average of 65.7 per cent) say they are more aware of ID theft, and the impact it can have on their finances, than they were a year ago.
  • Only 34.2 per cent of the residents of the North East correctly say the chance of them becoming a victim of ID theft is 1 in 1000 compared to an average of 36.7 per cent.
  • 84.6 per cent of those who live in the North East say they take measures to protect themselves from ID thieves compared to 85.9 per cent nationally.
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.