Bracknell one of worst towns for identity theftBy Becky Barnes
July 03, 2012
Bracknell has been ranked in the top 10 worst places for identity fraud.
With identity fraud on the rise in the UK, Bracknell has been flagged as the 10th most affected area outside London by price comparison website www.moneysupermarket.com
Moneysupermarket said people most at risk include those living in flats with communal halls and those who move frequently.
Annual fraud losses are estimated at £70 billion in the UK with the average financial loss per victim at £1,100, according to figures from the Experian Fraud Report 2012.
Fraudulent applications have risen by four per cent since 2011, with mortgage fraud rising by eight per cent and insurance fraud a whopping 23 per cent since last year.
Moneysupermarket said less affluent people are increasingly likely to become victims of identity fraud as fraudsters turn to the mass market.
Fraud attempts are said to rise by 74 per cent in the summer months and 69 per cent of fraud is committed by a family member.
The amount of time that victims take to discover that they have been targeted is of growing concern.
Moneysupermarket said identity fraud is referred to as a “silent crime” due to the amount of time it can take to uncover the problem.
Victims took an average of 416 days to discover their identity had been stolen in 2009 – enough time for their finances and credit score to be significantly damaged.
Anne Harding, financial capability trainer at Bracknell Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), said: “We do get identity theft coming into the bureau – we have had some quite serious cases when an identity has been completely been taken over.
“Some have even applied for mortgages in someone else’s name – it ranges from not as huge to devastating somebody’s life.
“The big problem is when it actually happens there is not enough advice out there.”
Bracknell CAB helps hundreds of people in the borough with debt every year but says the lack of advice for victims is a real problem.
Anne said: “Even as an advice organisation we find it difficult to access the information.
“There is a lot out there of how not be a victim but our concern is helping people when this has happened. There needs to be some sort of help on a government website – maybe a 10-point plan of what you can do. There needs to be more support for people who are victims and more on the agenda from the authorities.
“People can go to the police or go to a solicitor if they have the money, but without more information, prevention will have to be key.”