LONDON – A new survey has found that nearly one in ten Britons is the victim of identity fraud. The survey adds that people aged under-30 are the most vulnerable to such fraud since they are poor at keeping personal details safe.
The survey of 2,200 adults by YouGov found that two-thirds of the group aged under-30 admitted to giving their PIN numbers and bank details to friends and family. Around 28 percent did not know that a utility bill could also be used by people to commit identity theft. The survey was commissioned by Npower.
“August is the most popular time of year for moving property, therefore the risk of ID theft is increased,” said Npower spokeswoman Zoe Coombs. “The under-30s are at higher risk of becoming victims or of putting others at risk as they are more likely to be nomadic, living in rented properties, moving out of university halls and so on.” The poll also found that eight out of 10 people in the under-30 group were unaware of their credit rating. Also the risk of identity theft was greatest when people moved houses.
Professor Martin Gill, a identity theft specialist, who is a professor of criminology at Leicester University, said that the number of identity thefts was far higher than reported. “Official statistics relating to cases of ID theft are not indicative of the true scale of this growing crime, many cases go unrecorded or undetected,” he pointed out. “It is relatively easy for a thief to steal someone’s identity and people – particularly the under 30s – aren’t as cautious as they should be when it comes to safeguarding their own personal details and those of others. At that age it really isn’t seen as important.”
CIFAS, the fraud prevention service in the UK says that identity theft has been growing alarmingly in the past few years. Around 20,000 cases were reported in 1999, but this number rose to 137,000 in 2005.