The fraud trap

Most identity theft happens while moving home
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Almost half of all identity fraud cases are address-related, and 27 per cent occur when you move house, whether buying or renting. As about a million Londoners move home every year, half a million are at risk of some kind of identity theft. During a move, people are more vulnerable to criminals obtaining their personal information.

Uncollected post is high on the list of ways fraudsters can gain your information. If you haven’t informed all your contacts, uncollected post can lie around for months in communal hallways. There might be a whole pile of utility bills, credit card and banking details. Stolen identities can then be used to open new bank accounts, or to apply for loans and social benefits.

Keith McNeilly, co-founder of, says: “You must redirect all mail and also ensure that banks and all other organisations you deal with are aware of your change of address.

“Important personal documents, plastic cards, cheque books, passports, birth certificates, driving licences, credit cards and receipts, financial statements and even utility bills need to be kept out of view. When you are moving you are more likely to leave things out. And this is the time a whole raft of people will be coming in and out of your home.

“If you are disposing of personal papers, rip them up or, preferably, shred them. Always check bank and credit card statements fully. If you find an unfamiliar transaction, contact your card company or bank immediately.”

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