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Are You at Risk?
Identity fraudsters aren’t too picky about who they target. Of course, they prefer rich people with a great credit history — it’s more profitable. But Experian’s Victims of Fraud service, which has been collating data on trends in identity theft since 2003, has found that young renters, people in council or housing association accommodation and recent graduates are all vulnerable.
Take a look at these groups with the highest risks of identity theft, and see how high your risk is.
Who you are…
Well-off and well-established people who live in large, detached houses or ultra-expensive city centre homes are, predictably, the fraudsters’ favourite targets. They have the largest bank accounts, the highest spending limits and the cleanest credit histories — which means the best pickings for criminals. They are up to three times as likely, on average, to become victims of identity theft.
Up-and-coming renters offer easy pickings — they’re young, usually city-dwellers whose shared accommodation, communal postal delivery points and regular home moves make them especially vulnerable — whether they’re single, living with partners or have young families. Their chances of falling victim of an identity theft can be more than twice as high as the average.
Subsidised accommodation is a common thread for an unexpected group of identity theft victims — people living in flats rented mainly from councils and housing associations, often in and around London. They may work in unskilled or service jobs or be unemployed, but their relatively low earnings don’t put off the identity theft criminals, who prey on them 1.6 times more often than average.
Young families with parents most often in their 30s are already juggling their finances, perhaps with large mortgages, loans or credit cards to support their lifestyle. That means more accounts for criminals to infiltrate — and a tempting opportunity to trash their fragile credit ratings. These people are generally 1.5 times more likely to suffer an identity theft than average, although for young families living in expensive houses, the risks of identity theft are 2.25 times as high.
Where you live…
London is the identity theft capital of the U.K. — there’s twice the chance of becoming an identity theft victim if you live in the metropolis, with Kensington, Richmond, Putney, Wimbledon and parts of Chelsea offering the richest pickings to criminals.
Commuter belt towns in the Home Counties such as St Albans, Guildford and Windsor are also favourite targets. Other top locations for identity theft include Woking, Camberley, Maidenhead, Redhill, Bracknell, Bishops Stortford, Horsham and Bromley.
Major conurbations including Bristol, Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen also show higher-than-average risks of identity theft.
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