Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 11:18 UK

Fraud risk for 'young and single'

Shredded documents
Misdirected mail is a key tool for identity thieves

Young, single people in shared accommodation are the most at risk of identity fraud, a report has suggested.

Mail can be intercepted in shared hallways and tenants often fail to redirect their mail, leaving themselves exposed to the fraud.

Major cities - notably London and Glasgow - are the biggest hotspots for the crime, according to Experian Credit Expert's report.

It said fraudsters were turning their attention away from the wealthy.

Big risk

The report, based on an analysis of 5,000 identity fraud victims, concluded that young professionals living in London or Glasgow were more than twice as likely to be hit by identity fraud than the average consumer.

Criminals are switching their focus from the wealthy to people whose details they can get hold of more easily
Darryl Bowman, Credit Expert

Those working in service industries and living in flats rented from the council or housing associations were also major targets, as were graduates saving up for a deposit to buy their first home.

Similar research conducted a year ago suggested that company directors or those running their own businesses were the most likely victims.

These were typically aged between 26 and 45, earned more than £50,000, rented their home and lived in London.

"Criminals are switching their focus from the wealthy to people whose details they can get hold of more easily," said Darryl Bowman, director of Credit Expert.

"Because of this, each one of us needs to be aware of the dangers of ID fraud and take steps to protect our identity and stop thieves from getting access to our personal information."

Types of fraud

Fraud against those who rent homes where mail is intercepted was the most common - 36% of cases - according to the report.

In 30% of cases, fraudsters took advantage of financial information sent to the victim's previous address.

Forwarding address fraud - when a fraudster redirects the victim's mail to an address that the fraudster has access to - was used in 29% of cases.

Areas of the UK, outside of London, with the biggest concentration of victims were St Albans, Slough and Guildford.

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