New research from Lloyds TSB has revealed 76% of adults are currently worried about identity theft and 39% feel more at risk now than they did six months ago, with the recession playing a major contributing factor. The research was conducted September 2009 by ICM for Lloyds TSB amongst 1,000 UK adults aged 18+ years.
Over half (52%) of those concerned about ID theft believe that the recession has increased the risk as rising unemployment drives more people towards criminal activity and ID theft. Coupled with this, is the fear expressed by 57% of people that social networking sites have made it easier to steal personal details – a 10% increase on those with the same worries last year.
The study shows that as many as 38% of Brits have experienced ID fraud, with almost half of those (18%) having been victims personally. However, 57% of those surveyed admit that they have not done enough to protect themselves and 25% don’t know how.
According to CIFAS, the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, it takes an estimated 48 man hours to repair the damage resulting from fraud, and the cost to victims is frequently as high as £8,000. Typically, it takes an average of 539 days for someone to discover that they’ve been a victim of ID theft and it is on the increase; latest CIFAS figures show that it increased by 15% in 2008.
Lloyds TSB’s ID Aware product allows customers to stay on top of their credit status and safeguard their identity, providing credit monitoring services and an early warning system to alert the customer to any activity involving their account. In addition, customers benefit from access to their credit status and payment history in one easy-to-understand document showing all credit cards, mortgages and loans. Credit alerts to warn the customer in the event that someone has been checking their credit status or doing anything fraudulent that affects their credit score. And if the worst should happen, expert help is on-hand. ID Aware provides 24 hour access to an advisor who will take control and set everything back on track.
Jatin Patel, spokesperson for Lloyds TSB commented: “As technology improves, it gets easier and easier for criminals to steal our identities and during tough economic times the temptation becomes greater. Protecting ourselves by shredding documents and protecting passwords is a good start, but having someone else keep an eye on your ID offers extra peace of mind.”
Lloyds TSB is also offering help and guidance through the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week (NIFP) which Lloyds TSB has supported from its birth in 2005. The Group will be putting up posters and providing leaflets in branches detailing ways to spot potential fraud. The bank is also giving information on how customers can protect themselves by safeguarding documents and making it as difficult as possible for criminals to access personal information.