Londoners are more at risk than anyone else in the UK of becoming a victim of identity fraud, according to new research by Experian. And things are even worse in the borough of Kensington; people living there are almost five times more likely to be targeted.
The new research by Experian – the UK’s largest credit reference agency – shows that of the top 20 UK ID fraud hotspots, most are in the South East, with London leading, closely followed by Richmond upon Thames, Harrow, Hounslow and Croydon, and with affluent areas like Guildford, Windsor and High Wycombe also making the top 20.
But it is not just a problem in the capital and surrounding areas, it is a countrywide issue; university towns come up high on the list, and it is often recent graduates that are targeted. This is often because of a change of address – more than 70 per cent of all victims identified by Experian were victims of either present address or previous address fraud. A spokesman said: "Well-paid recent graduates in privately rented accommodation are, perhaps surprisingly, the most likely to have their identity stolen – almost twice as likely as the national average."
There is, say Experian, a way you can protect yourself from ID fraud – by checking your credit report regularly for any strange activity. You will be able to tell, early on, if someone is trying to use your identity to get credit. The spokesman said: "The easiest way to keep ahead of identity criminals is to keep a regular watch on your credit report – the personal history of the credit you have taken out, such as a mortgage, loans or cards. This means you can immediately see if somebody has been impersonating you to get credit and is such an effective defence that the government recommends it."
"You can see your Experian credit report for free by taking advantage of a 30-day trial of CreditExpert, the credit monitoring and identity fraud protection service from Experian. You’ll also be sent an alert by e-mail or text every time there’s a major change to your credit report, such as an application for credit in your name."
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