Identity fraud is increasing and organised crime is to blame, according to data from Experian’s Victims of Fraud service.
Experian reported a 69 per cent rise in the number of people who contacted their service in the latter months of 2006, in comparison to the same time in the previous year.
The most common method of stealing someone’s identity appears to come from taking over their address by redirecting their post, which accounts for 45 per cent of cases reported to Experian in the last half of 2006.
Furthermore, 97 per cent of those affected have had no knowledge of or connection with the person who stole their identity, which suggests that it is not down to opportunistic criminals, but organised gangs operating on a global scale.
The high risk addresses are in London and the surrounding area, where thieves target wealthy business owners, corporate managers and young professionals who rent their accommodation, as well as the elderly and disadvantaged.
Jim Hodgkins, managing director of CreditExpert, Experian’s online credit monitoring and identity fraud protection service, recommends keeping an eye on your credit report to protect your identity.
“Your credit report is part of your financial CV, listing your credit accounts – such as cards, loans and mortgages – and applications for credit”, he says. “This makes it easy to spot if somebody else is trying to get credit in your name.”
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