Police and lenders not responsible for tackling ID theft

04 September 2006

Britons do not hold the police or lenders responsible for protecting people against ID theft according to research from online credit report service MyCallcredit.

It discovered more than seven out of ten people think individuals bear the main responsibility for protecting themselves against ID theft whereas only one in thirteen thinks it is the responsibility of the police and one in five think it is the responsibility of the lenders.

And while seven out of ten people say they are concerned about ID theft, seven out of ten also say they know how to protect themselves.

However, only three in ten could correctly identify that their likelihood of becoming a victim is one in 1000 - the remainder surveyed drastically underestimated their risk, some by as much as 15 times.

MyCallcredit director Mel Mitchley says:

"It's really encouraging that people think they know how to protect themselves from ID theft and believe they bear the main responsibility for doing so.

However, people do drastically underestimate the risk they will become a victim of ID theft so there is still a lot of work to do educating people of those risks and the tell tale signs that your identity might have been compromised."

Key Findings
  • 74 per cent of people are concerned about ID theft.
  • 70.1 per cent of Britons say they know how to protect themselves from ID theft.
  • Only 7.5 per cent of people say the police bear the main responsibility for protecting Britons from ID theft, 18.7 per cent say it is the responsibility of the lenders and 73.9 per cent say it is down to the individual.
  • Men are more likely than women to think lenders bear the main responsibility for protecting us against ID theft, 23.3 per cent against 14.2 per cent.
  • Women are more likely to rely on themselves for protection against ID theft than men, 77.4 per cent against 70.3 per cent.
  • Only 31.6 per cent of Britons correctly identified that their chance of becoming a victim of ID theft was one in 1000.
  • Young people aged between 16 to 24 are more aware of the risk of ID theft than any other age group with 42 per cent correctly identifying that the risk of having their ID stolen in one in 1000.
  • Pensioners over the age of 65 are the most likely to underestimate their risk of falling victim to ID theft with 26.2 per cent saying the chances are one in 15000.
  • Pensioners are also most likely to say they are not concerned about having their ID stolen, 35 per cent against a national average of 23.2 per cent.
What is ID theft

ID theft is an all-encompassing term for different types of fraud committed in another person's name.

The most common type of fraud involves someone stealing your card details and using them to make purchases or withdraw cash.

But it can also be when someone takes over your identity completely and applies for loans, mortgages, passports or a driving license in your name.

By following our guidelines people can protect themselves from all types of impersonation fraud and minimise the time and hassle involved in restoring their credit file to its correct state.

How to protect yourself from ID thieves
  • Shred personal documents before disposing of them.
  • Cancel unused credit facilities.
  • Don't give personal information to anyone, however legitimate they may seem, without first confirming who they are and why they want the information.
  • Check your credit file regularly and sign up to a service which alerts you to any changes on your credit file - often the first indication you will have that a fraudster has got hold of your ID
Editors notes
  1. The research was carried out for MyCallcredit by NEMS Market Research between 3 and 9 August 2006.

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