Top 10 identity fraud hotspots New research shows ID fraud rates on the up

20 April 2011

ID Fraud

Be on your guard against fraudsters 

Fraud rates up 11% in 2010, with London still topping the tables for both identity fraud and first-party fraud.

Fraud rates on the up

New figures from Experian show that fraud rates rose 11% over the course of 2010. London is still the identity fraud capital of the UK, topping the league table for both first-party and identity fraud.

Woolwich and East Ham recorded the most incidents per head of population, although the fraudsters are migrating west, with areas such Reading and High Wycombe showing large increases. Reading in particular saw a huge jump in fraud rates, with a 199% increase in identity fraud attempts, from just over 3 incidences per 10,000 people to almost 10.

The top 10 spots in order of incidences are Woolwich, East Ham, Victoria Street, Lewisham, Cheapside, Reading, Ilford, Tooting, High Wycombe and Stratford. You can find more detailed information about fraud in these areas by reading the ProtectMyID blog.

Identity fraud and first-party fraud

Identity fraud occurs when someone steals personal information to present themselves as someone else and spends money in their name. First-party fraud, meanwhile, is where an individual falsely portrays their personal circumstances, and is responsible for more than half of fraud attempts against credit and other financial service providers.

Car finance and mortgage providers were most frequently targeted by first-party fraudsters. Mortgage fraud attempts were up by 14% to 32% in every 10,000 applications in 2010, with first-party fraudsters responsible for almost all cases.

There was also a 25% increase in fraudulent applications for current accounts, with half of new cases down to identity fraudsters.

Protect yourself from ID Fraud

The Which? website contains a wealth of advice on how to avoid identity fraud, including tips to help you avoid phishing and skimming scams, and advice on how to properly dispose of financial information.

We've also come up with five reasons why identity theft insurance is rarely worth the money. We believe these policies are sold to consumers even though they are of little use, and the ID theft insurance sector is currently being investigated by the Financial Services Authority

The video below provides a guide to what steps you should take to avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud:


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Video transcript

Hello, I'm Martin Hocking and I'm here to help you protect yourself and your money against identity fraud. Now, losses from credit and debit card fraud reached £535 million in 2007. That was up 25% from on previous year. These statistics statistics are worrying, but there are some key steps you can take to decrease the chances of becoming a victim of the fraudsters.

You can start by examining your bank and credit card statements. carefully to check for any transactions that you don't recognize. Keep receipts from credit and debit card purchases, to help you do this. Report any fraudulent transactions you spot to your bank or card provider immediately. As fraudsters commit identity theft by stealing personal information about you.

To stop them getting their hands on your details from old documents, shred or rip up old bank statements , utility bills, receipts and anything showing your name and address before throwing it away. If you move house, you should also redirect your mail to your new address using Royal Mail's redirection service, for at least a year afterwards.

When you're picking passwords for financial websites,
avoid using information that could easily be
obtained by fraudsters
such as you mother's maiden name for example. A combination of letters and numbers is the most secure
form of password, but obviously choose something that you can
remember without having to write it down.

Now we are all doing a lot more shopping online these days. Very important to check the beginning of the address of a website is changing from the letters http to https when you're paying for something online and the image of a padlock lock will appear as well, usually at the top of the computer screen.

Check this happens when you're shopping on the internet to make sure your payment details are protected. You should also protect your computer with anti virus software and a firewall to prevent fraudsters accessing your hard drive. It is important to notify your bank or creditor provider as soon as possible, if your cards are stolen or have been lost.

You should also do this if you notice fraudulent or suspicious transactions on your statements. It's worth keeping a note of these relevant telephone numbers in you purse or wallet, it really takes the stress out of that situation. It means they're accessible even if you're away from home. Here's another one.

It sounds simple, but it's very important. Do not allow someone else to use your debit or credit card by giving them your PIN. This could be seen as acting without reasonable care by your bank, should any money be taken from you fraudulently and it couldn't make it that much harder to claim the money back.

For the same reason you should never record your pins or passwords in a way that would make accessible to fraudsters. And obviously never store them with your cards. The banking code says that you're not liable for more than £50 if your card is lost or stolen and then used fraudulently, but this does not apply if your bank can show that you acted without reasonable care.

And they would say writing your PIN down and sticking it in your wallet is not acting with reasonable care. Finally, if someone contacts you by phone or email or claiming to be from your bank or credit card company, don't give out any personal details without first making sure they are who they say they are for example, by phoning them back.

In reality, your bank will never ask you for your pin or password over the phone, they simply don't need that information. ones asking for it, they're almost certainly a fraudster.
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