Welsh underestimate risk of ID theft

The Welsh are more likely to underestimate the risk of ID theft than anywhere else in the UK and the least likely to believe they are responsible for protecting themselves against ID thieves according to research from online credit report service MyCallcredit.

Only 68.6 per cent of people in Wales thought it was their responsibility to protect themselves from ID thieves compared to 73.9 per cent nationally and 81 per cent in Yorkshire.

The remainder believed lenders were primarily responsible (22.3 per cent) or the police (9.1 per cent).

Seven out of ten (68.1 per cent) say they are concerned about ID theft and a similar number also say they know how to protect themselves.

However, only one in four (26.2 per cent) could correctly identify that their likelihood of becoming a victim is one in 1000 - the remainder of those living in Wales surveyed drastically underestimated their risk - one in four by as much as 15 times.

Callcredit director Mel Mitchley says:

"The Welsh are burying their heads in the sand in comparison to the rest of the country when it comes to ID theft.

Three out of four Welsh people drastically underestimate the likelihood they will become a victim of ID theft. Lenders and police are working hard to make life tough for ID thieves but it's really important that people take sensible precautions to protect themselves and can recognise the pointers that would suggest their ID had been stolen.

Key Findings
  • 68.1 per cent of the Welsh are concerned about ID theft.
  • 67.3 per cent of people in Wales say they know how to protect themselves from ID theft.
  • 9.1 per cent of people in Wales say the police bear the main responsibility for protecting Britons from ID theft.
  • 22.3 per cent of the Welsh say it is the responsibility of lenders against a national average of 16.9 and 68.6 per cent say it is down to the individual compared to a UK average of 73.9 per cent.
  • Men are more likely than women to think lenders bear the main responsibility for protecting us against ID theft, 23.3 per cent against 14.2 per cent.
  • Women are more likely to rely on themselves for protection against ID theft than men, 77.4 per cent against 70.3 per cent.
  • Only 26.2 per cent of people in Wales correctly identified that their chance of becoming a victim of ID theft was one in 1000. 24.5 per cent said their risk was on in 15000 against a national average of 18.1 per cent.
  • Young people aged between 16 to 24 are more aware of the risk of ID theft than any other age group with 42 per cent correctly identifying that the risk of having their ID stolen in one in 1000.
  • Pensioners over the age of 65 are the most likely to underestimate their risk of falling victim to ID theft with 26.2 per cent saying the chances are one in 15000.
  • Pensioners are also most likely to say they are not concerned about having their ID stolen, 35 per cent against a national average of 23.2 per cent.
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 among 1003 people for MyCallcredit by NEMS Market Research between 3 and 9 August 2006.