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1 in 10 home owners could be at risk of ID crime by not redirecting mail

Royal Mail have conducted one of the largest studies of home movers in the UK which reveals people are putting themselves at risk of ID crime by not redirecting their mail when they move home.

Royal Mail commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the third report into home movers experiences and concerns when it comes to the property market.

The latest findings have been released as part of Citizen’s Advice, Scam Awareness Month. The awareness campaign, now in its third year, aims to give people the knowledge they need to spot and combat fraud. Cifas revealed that there were 34,151 confirmed instances of identity fraud in the first quarter of 2015, a 27% increase from the same period of the previous year. 

Royal Mail is encouraging people across the UK to redirect their mail when moving home in order to protect themselves against identity fraud. If people don’t take out a Redirection Service when changing address, their mail is likely to land on their old doorstep, with no control over who opens it or uses the information or contents it contains. A Redirection Service is the best way to ensure that all personal details are taken with you when move home.

According to the research 68% say they are concerned about identity fraud with almost 1 in 3 (30%) going a step further and admitting they are extremely concerned.

No longer at this address

Reminders of previous owners linger longer than the new paint smell for home movers as a quarter (26%) of Redirection customers say they have received up to five items of mail for the former occupant during the first month in their new home. More than 1 in 10 (15%) found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on their doorstep.

Of those that did get mail that wasn’t addressed to them, worryingly more than half (52%) said they had received sensitive financial mail.

Not a priority

The arrival of mail for a former resident is not surprising as it seems that informing companies of a change of address is often left off the ‘to do’ list when moving homes. Pension providers (14%), DVLA (13%), mobile phone providers (11%), credit card companies (8%), banks and TV Licensing (both 7%) were most commonly forgotten.

Family and friends don’t fare any better with one fifth (20%) forgetting to tell an old friend that they were moving, followed by the wider family including aunts, uncles and cousins (4%). Strikingly, 125 (1%) of people surveyed admitted that they had neglected to tell their parent, brother/sister or grandparent when changing address. 

Top tips to fighting ID crime when moving home from Cifas

  • Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
  • Redirect your post for at least a year.
  • Once you’ve moved, check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned.
  • If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell the issuing company straight away.
  • If you’re concerned, check your personal credit file two to three months after you have moved house.

You can also find some additional tips to prevent ID crime from Action Fraud’s recent “Not With My Name” campaign. 

For further information please visit the Royal Mail website.

Please note that Action Fraud is not responsible for the content of external websites.

To report a fraud and receive a police crime reference number, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

You can now also sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

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