LV= has revealed in a new report that one in seven burglaries last year was carried out solely in an attempt to steal the homeowner’s personal details.
A quarter of all burglary victims in the past year fell prey to ID fraud as a direct result of a break in. The research from home insurer LV=, which questioned both burglary victims and convicted fraudsters, reveals the scale of the crime and fraudsters’ tricks of the trade.
‘ID burglary’ is estimated to cost the UK over £150 million per year to rectify and according to the report the number of home burglaries involving personal data theft is predicted to rise by 33% year on year if ID fraud continues to increase at its current rate.
The LV= report found that credit cards, coupled with a form of ID such as a bank statement, utility bill or National Insurance number, are prized items on the black market as they make it easier for fraudsters to steal an identity. Individual identity documents can change hands for around £15, whereas fraudsters will typically pay £150 for a ‘bundle’ of personal identity information.
One fraudster said: “So many people make my job really easy by sticking all the key documents together in one place. And for all the family too, so you often get three or four identities for the price of one, so to speak.”
While ‘identity burglars’ are becoming more common, even thieves after more traditional items such as purses or wallets are likely to take the opportunity to steal personal details as well, because they know they can sell these on. Around 94% of handbags, wallets and purses contain at least one form of personal identity document.
John O’ Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “As the trend for identity fraud increases, we would strongly urge homeowners to take appropriate measures to limit their chances of being targeted by thieves and fraudsters. As well as installing home security measures such as burglary alarms and security lights, homeowners should ensure they store personal documents securely and if possible separately to minimise the risk of ID theft.”