Identify Theft Swells in the U.K.

By Matthew Harwood

Identity theft in the United Kingdom shot up 71 percent over the last year with criminals mainly targeting the wealthy, reports The Register.

Citing numbers from the credit agency Experian, directly reported incidents of identity theft swelled from 3,500 in 2006 to 6,000 in 2007.

Londoners, according to the credit agency, faced twice the threat of identity theft than the rest of the country, but other small pockets of the country experienced higher than average incidents of fraud as well. Residents of Great Cambourne near Cambridge, for example, suffered a rate of identity theft four times the national average.

The reason: criminals go where the money is.

The Register notes:

The typical identity fraud victim is aged between 26 and 45, earns more than £50,000 a year and tends to be a homeowner. Higher income earners are three times as likely to fall victim to identity fraudsters. Many victims realised they had been swindled after spotting dodgy transactions on credit monitoring reports.

Experian also reports that identity thieves are shifting their tactics to mail redirection services where a criminal changes a victim's address to a drop address.

The credit agency also says victims of identity theft rarely report the crime to police. Of those incidents reported, only 6 percent lead to a criminal prosecution.



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