Young, single renters biggest targets of fraud

With a risk score of 184, the second biggest target group for ID fraudsters are young, single people and home sharers working in service industries and living in flats rented predominantly from the council or housing associations. Graduates renting in good areas while saving for a mortgage deposit are the third most likely group to become victims of ID fraud, while wealthy company directors and business owners at the pinnacle of their success make up the list of the top four groups most likely to become victims of ID fraud.

People who rent or have shared hallways are the easiest targets for mail interception, a key tactic used by fraudsters. Renters are also vulnerable because of their tendency to move more often than home owners and by not redirecting their mail they leave themselves exposed to the threat of previous address fraud.

The ten most at-risk groups identified by CreditExpert’s analysis are:

1 Young singles often in shared rented accommodation who are earning reasonable wages and are optimistic for the future
2 Singles in their 30s in mostly council rented flats. Unemployment is a problem but debts are usually controlled
3 High-flying graduates privately renting in good areas while they pay off student debts and save for a mortgage deposit
4 Company directors and business owners. Very wealthy individuals at the pinnacle of successful careers
5 Highest income earners in premium price city flats and residences
6 Heads of families with considerable incomes but with a very large mortgage leaving little spare to save
7 Professionals, company directors and managers with high incomes but still accumulating assets
8 Young, cohabiting couples and friends currently relying on overdrafts but with future potential
9 Successful professionals or managers who are mostly living alone
10 Professionals who have had successful careers and are now approaching retirement. Likely to be in a senior management position with the salary to match

By analysing the types of people that became victims of ID fraud in 2008, CreditExpert has identified the UK’s identity fraud hotspots – where the highest proportions of at-risk residents live.

London remains the identity fraud capital of the UK, with residents almost four times as likely to fall victim compared with the average score across the UK.  With a risk score of 638, Kensington continues to be the capital’s worst identity fraud hotspot, with residents – on average – over six times more likely to fall victim compared with the UK average.

Residents of Victoria, Clapham Junction and Hammersmith are also amongst those at highest risk.

Outside London, commuter towns such as St Albans (300), Guildford (260) and Windsor (238) also have high concentrations of the most at-risk consumer types. Birmingham (171), Edinburgh (143) and Glasgow (134) join the list of the UK’s major cities where the threat of ID fraud is higher than average.

Analysis of fraud incidents reported to Experian reveal that present address fraud continues to grow and is now the most commonly perpetrated method, representing 36 per cent of all identity fraud committed. Previous address fraud is the second most common method of identity fraud, accounting for 30 per cent of all cases, while forwarding address fraud is the method used for 29 per cent of identity fraud.

In 2008, almost two thirds (63 per cent) of victims of identity fraud discovered they had become a victim by noticing fraudulent activity on their credit report, while 15 per cent of victims discovered their identity had been compromised after being contacted by a financial services company.

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