Scots in the dark over ID theft

Scots can't decide how concerned they are about ID theft and are worryingly unaware of how to protect themselves from ID thieves according to the quarterly ID theft survey from online credit monitoring service MyCallcredit.

Its research reveals that despite a high profile government campaign warning people of the dangers of ID theft, and how to protect themselves, the message is not getting through to Scots.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"Scots seem to be confused by ID theft, they jumped from being the most concerned people in the UK to the least and now they're averagely concerned about the crime. And this is over a period when the dangers of ID theft have been heavily publicised by the government and financial institutions.

The good news is that the majority of places in Scotland do have a lower than average incidence of ID theft but in Glasgow the incidence is higher than average.

By taking a few simple steps everyone in Scotland 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
  • Glasgow is the ID theft hotspot of Scotland where the risk of ID theft is twice as high as in Edinburgh.
  • Seven out of ten Scots (70.2 per cent) say they are concerned about ID theft now, in July last year eight out of ten Scots (82.6 per cent) claimed they were concerned but in October last year just six out of ten (61 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 Scots who say they know exactly how to protect themselves from ID thieves dropped from 16.4 per cent in July last year to 12.3 per cent in October and just 11 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 85.6 per cent of Scots 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.
  • 68.3 per cent of Scots 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.
  • 26.2 per cent of Scots 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.