News & Views - Savantor

Rising identity fraud

Monday, 19 May 2008

In a dramatically titled ‘Victims of ID Fraud’ report Experian shows that the number of identity fraud incidents reported to Experian has continued to grow during the second half of 2007. Between 1 July and 31 December 2007, 3,554 new victims of identity fraud contacted Experian’s Victims of Fraud service to get help reclaiming their identities which contrasts with the 3,500 cases reported during the whole of 2006.  In the second half of 2007, 71% of victims first discovered they had become a victim by monitoring their credit report and seeing fraudulent activity recorded on it.

Experian’s report reveals that the typical identity fraud victim will be aged between 26 and 45. They will work in professional occupations, own their own (often detached) home and will be high income earners. In fact, those earning more than £50,000 a year are almost three times more likely than average to fall victim to identity fraud.

Forwarding address fraud, where a fraudster redirects the victim’s post to a drop address that he/she then visits to collect mail, continues to grow and is now the most commonly perpetrated method, representing 36% of identity fraud committed. Present address fraud, previously the most common method, declined to 30% from 46%.

London remains the identity fraud capital of the UK, with residents – on average – almost twice as likely to fall victim compared with the average score across the UK. Kensington is London’s the identity fraud hotspot, with residents – on average – three-and-a-half times more likely to fall victim compared with the UK average. Residents of Richmond-upon-Thames, Putney, Wimbledon and the Kings Road area of Chelsea are also amongst those at the highest risk – being over three-times more likely to fall victim.

So the perhaps unsurprising conclusion is that high income earners living in expensive parts of London are more likely to suffer from id fraud.  Surely it would not be difficult to eliminate this if Experian were to send an sms message to anyone who claims to be opening an account, applying for a card or a loan against a name where those products already exist.  After all we don’t do those things so frequently that being asked if it was really you would be a problem.  Why not get customers to pay for a proactive service rather than the reactive service of paying to check your credit record.

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