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Do you live in one of the UK’s fraud hotspots?

by Ellen de Vries

Do you ever wonder how likely it would be that your details could be used to commit identity fraud? New research from Experian has shown that fraudulent applications for current accounts, credit cards and loan applications and other financial services has increased by 11% in 2010 compared to 2009.

Identity fraudsters now account for more than 80% of attempts to knowingly attempt to secure credit with false details. There are many ways that fraudsters can achieve this – a number of the cases include current address fraud, which is when frausters intercept or redirect mail.

Which areas of the UK have been targeted?

London, particularly in the areas of East Ham and Woolwich, appears to still be the identity fraud capital of the UK. New evidence suggests that identity fraudsters are also increasingly targeting residents in commuter towns, including Reading, High Wycombe and Basingstoke. The number of identity frauds attempted against residents of Reading, for example, trebled in 2010.

How can you prevent yourself becoming the victim of fraud?

1. Don’t reveal too many details or your family’s details on social networking sites.

2. Keep PIN and passwords private, memorise details rather than writing them down.

3. Make sure sites are secure when you are making purchases online. Update your firewall regularly.

4. If an email seems suspicious, don’t open it, don’t relpy and don’t give out personal details.

5. Read your bank statements for irregularities.

6. Shred your bank mail before throwing it away.

Peter Turner, Managing Director of Experian Interactive, says “It is important to have proper safeguards in place to protect your identity such as ensuring that you keep your pins and passwords private, properly checking your bank statements and taking care when sharing personal details online.”