Trusting Brits let their identities be stolen

22 March 2004
Why bother stealing a credit card when you can simply steal someone's identity?

Fraudsters no longer need that flexible friend to obtain credit and goods. Now, with certain important personal details, they can simply pretend to be someone else, often without their victim even knowing.

In fact, one in seven people wouldn't notice the loss of £500 from their bank account.

In addition, 8 million would happily disclose information on the phone that would enable a caller to commit identity fraud.

That's according to new research carried out by Experian, a monitoring service that protects against ID fraud, the UK's fastest growing crime.

Jill Stevens, from Experian, warned that people should "think twice before disclosing personal or financial information to cold-callers, even if they claim to be from your bank."

Yet giving away their date of birth would be second nature to 46 per cent of those surveyed, with men being more likely than women to give out information.

As for those who would not notice a missing £500, figures suggest this is partly motivated by anxiety of checking their bank balance. One in three admitted they felt genuinely worried when checking the state of their finances.

ID fraud has leapt 45 per cent in the last year, as shown by figures published by the Association for Payment Clearing Services. Such crimes have been steadily rising on the other side of the Atlantic as well, while credit card theft has fallen by five per cent.