Last year saw professional renters bear the biggest brunt of a surge in identity theft, with one out of five (20%) of all attempts aimed at young professionals living in rented accommodation.
This group was also the key target for nearly one in four (23.4%) attempted current account frauds – fraudsters’ biggest focus throughout 2015.
Our latest research reveals that fewer high net-worth individuals fell victim to identity thieves in 2015, compared to 2014.
Affluent families living in prestigious neighbourhoods, who often tend to have high-value assets and investments, saw a significant drop in attempted identity fraud – from 10.7% in 2014 to 8.3% in 2015. Elsewhere, well-off home owners in rural locations, who tend to be self-employed, also saw identity fraud attacks fall from 5.3% in 2014 to 3.8% in 2015.
Easily accessible, shared hallways can offer opportunities for those wanting to harvest personal details and these figures highlight the need for renters to be vigilant. Residents in shared blocks must remain aware of their finances and spot any irregularities that could be a sign of fraudulent activity.
ID theft continues to be a nationwide challenge affecting individuals from all parts of the UK. While London remains the fraud capital of the country – with 28% of all first party fraud and 36% of all third-party fraud – the inner-cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Glasgow have also been particularly vulnerable. The high density of professional renters in shared blocks of flats contributes to this, with personal details easily accessible in shared unsecured mail boxes and high rates of digital usage giving fraudsters more ways to steal an identity.
Isolated pockets of fraud hotspots have been detected in the Highlands, Wales, Devon, Cornwall and Hampshire. It also highlights how ghost-brokers are using low-risk postcodes to illegally sell insurance.
Third-party fraud continues to be biased towards wealthier suburban areas, with virtually every commuter town around the M25 having disproportionately high levels of third-party fraud.
Last year, our Victims of Fraud (VOF) team helped almost 14,500 people reclaim their identity and restore their credit rating. Set up over ten years ago to support those who discover their identity has been hijacked, the number of people Experian has helped has increased each year. Typically, Experian’s VOF team last year mainly dealt with men – accounting for nearly two out of three (62%) victims – often aged between 30 and 40 (32%) and living in the South East. Nearly two out of five (38%) came from Greater London.
Fraud typically goes undetected for many months and when it’s discovered, most victims report feeling angry, confused and vulnerable. Many also feel anxious that their credit rating will plummet and with it any chances of qualifying for competitively priced credit. It is important people know there is help available. To find out how to prevent becoming a victim of ID fraud, please click here.
Our interactive fraud dashboard provides the latest insight for those wishing to stay up to date. It is the first of its kind in the UK and shows fraud rates by financial product as well as regional hotspots and high profile fraud facts. To visit the dashboard, please click here.
We work closely with National Hunter and Insurance Hunter, the UK’s leading fraud prevention systems, operated by Experian on behalf of members. The systems enable financial institutions to cross-match applications against more than 100 million previous application records in order to spot commonalities and anomalies that are potentially indicative of fraud for further investigation.