Professionals most likely to fall victim to ID fraud

28 May 2008

Homeowners aged between 26 and 45 and earning more than £50,000 a year are the most at risk of identity fraud, a new report reveals.

The number of people falling victim to ID fraud has risen sharply over the past year, with credit reference agency Experian reporting a 66% leap from 2007. It has prepared a report examining those most at risk of being targeted by fraudsters, which reveals that directors and people running their own business are three times more likely to fall victim.

London remains the hot spot for ID fraud, according to the report, although outside of the capital areas such as Great Cambourne, near Cambridge, Far Cotton, Northampton Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees, are regarded as high-risk.

Fraudsters appear to be picking their victims carefully, and tend to focus their attentions on homeowners aged between 26 and 45 and earning more than £50,000 a year.

However, although wealthy people are the most likely to be singled out by fraudsters, young singles who rent either privately or from local authorities are also at high risk, according to Experian, as shared mailboxes and frequent moves provide more opportunities for credit history misuse.

Helen Lord, director of fraud and compliance at Experian, says that the dramatic increase in ID fraud over the last few years has coincided with the increasing involvement of organised criminals in this space. “Although some people are statistically more likely than others to become a victim, we should all be concerned,” she adds. “We are all potential victims.”

The amount of money reported stolen by fraudsters is also on the rise.

Mark Bowerman, spokesman for APACS, the UK’s payments association, says: “Over £34 million was reported stolen from credit and debit cards in 2007, a 7% increase from 2006 levels.”

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