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Newham now blackspot for identity fraud

PUBLISHED: 06:30 27 October 2011

Newham has become a UK blackspot for identiy theft.

Identity thieves are targeting Newham residents in unprecedented numbers - turning the borough into a UK blackspot.

Crooks are trying to steal bank account details, personal email information, passwords and other information which could be used in crime.

East Ham was the second highest proportion of identity fraud cases in the country in the last year. Stratford was 10th highest, according to new analyses from CreditExpert, by Experian, claims.

More than 25 from every 10,000 residents had their identity used in crime – by those applying for credit cards, mobile phones, online purchase and more - according to the official insurance industry records.

Experian Interactive managing director Peter Turner said: “In tough times, your personal information is one of the most valuable assets you have. Identity fraud is one of the UK’s fastest-growing crimes.

“Fraudsters target groups that they know to be vulnerable and London contains a high proportion of such people. These include: the obviously wealthy, who have access to multiple sources of credit; young professionals who are heavy internet users and who often rent shared accommodation, so move around a great deal; and people in rented accommodation on low incomes, who are often targeted for small amounts and who are most vulnerable to the effects of identity theft.

“But some simple steps can protect you. Be cautious about what information you give out and what links you click on, and keep abreast of bank statements and your credit report, which will alert you to any irregular transactions or applications in your name.”

People are urged to be careful what information is stored on phones – including emails that can be accessed without a password.

Be wary of security settings if you access public Wi-Fi hotspots, especially if you use your phone to bank online.

Don’t reveal too much on social networking sites. Fraudsters use personal details like date of birth, age, maiden names or pets’ names to guess private passwords. Keep pins and passwords private.

Memorise details rather than writing them down and never give account details to anyone else. Use different passwords for different accounts and try to avoid easy to guess names.

Keep your firewalls and security settings up to date, read your bank statements for irregularities, and if you receive paper statements, be sure to shred them.


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