Credit reference agency Callcredit has identified the areas most and least at risk of identity (ID) fraud across the UK.
Based on data including known fraud cases, house prices, the electoral roll, unemployment data and geo-demographic data, Callcredit assessed the fraud status of 121 localities that make up the UK.
Sunderland, previously ranked as the 15th most ‘at risk’ area in 2008, now tops the list of cities most at risk of ID fraud. Over half of the top ten cities on the list are based in the north, including Manchester, Oldham and Middlesbrough.
South least at risk
The research also found that areas based in the south-east, such as Guildford, Kingston and St Albans, have been least affected by fraud. People living in London were found to be less at risk from ID fraud than they were two years ago, with only three London districts in the top 10 list compared with eight districts in 2008.
A spokesman for Callcredit commented: ‘The research shows the extent to which all areas of the UK now find themselves exposed to fraud, but what really stands out is how the levels of risk are constantly changing. It’s important to be aware of the risk and to do what you can to protect yourself from falling victim.’
Fraud is said to cost the UK £30bn a year, with credit card fraud totalling £440m in 2009.
For more information on protecting yourself against ID fraud, read the Which? advice guide and our Top tips for stopping identity theft.
Checking your credit file
Consumers can help protect themselves against ID fraud by obtaining their credit reports from the three credit reference agencies in the UK: Callcredit, Equifax and Experian. You can obtain your reports for £2 each both online or by post – visit the Which? guide to credit reference agencies to find out more.
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