Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Third of ID victims 'know thieves'

A third of people who have been victims of identity fraud think they know who is to blame, a survey has found

A third of people who have had their identity stolen claim to know the fraudster who misused their personal details, a new survey indicates.

Around 31% of people who have fallen victim to the crime said they knew who had stolen their identity, with 69% of these saying they thought it was a member of their family, according to credit reference agency Experian.

The group, which questioned 5,000 victims of identity fraud, found that a further 25% of people suspected their details had been stolen by another tenant in the same property.

Around 3% of people said they thought their details had been taken and misused by a friend, while 2% blamed a former partner and 1% thought a work colleague had misused their data.

Identity fraud involves someone using another individual's personal details to obtain credit or benefits in their name. Nearly two million people have their identities stolen every year at a cost to the UK of £2.7 billion, according to a report published by the National Fraud Authority earlier this week.

Experian said it had noticed a change in the type of people being targeted by identity fraudsters, with criminals moving away from well-off victims and instead committing higher volumes of lower value fraud against people whose lifestyle made them more vulnerable to the crime.

It said people who were most at risk included young professionals and single parents on low incomes, as well as those living in flats with communal halls and shared postal deliveries, and people who moved home frequently.

Peter Turner, of Experian's ProtectMyID.co.uk service, said: "Unfortunately, it seems that those who are most trusted are also those most likely to be put under the spotlight when ID fraud is committed.

"With this research revealing that so many victims think they know who the perpetrator is, suspicions are bound to run riot as to who it might be.

"It has never been more important to be vigilant with personal details and ensure you keep passwords and private data to yourself."

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