Consumer: Redirect your mail to reduce ID fraud risk

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Home movers are putting themselves at risk of identification fraud, a new survey has found.

The study - one of the largest involving home movers in the UK - revealed that one in ten are unknowingly giving others access to their post by not redirecting the mail when they move.

A quarter of people have received up to five items of mail for a previous resident, while 15 per cent had more than 20 items come through the letterbox. Half of those who have received mail for a former resident have received financial mail such as bank or credit card statements.

The Royal Mail-commissioned survey also revealed that 67 per cent of home movers were concerned about identity fraud with 30 per cent admitting they were extremely concerned.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of Cifas fraud prevention service, said: “Every day across the UK, people are leaving themselves vulnerable to fraud by failing to take simple steps to protect their identities. Fraudsters are usually very sophisticated but many are also opportunists. Re-directing your mail when you move home is a simple step that will help to make a fraudster’s job much more difficult and reduce the opportunities for them to take advantage.”

People are most likely to forget to inform pension providers (13 per cent), the DVLA (12 per cent) and mobile phone companies (10 per cent) about their new address. But movers also often forget to tell old friends (21 per cent), cousins (five per cent), aunts or uncles (four per cent) or a close friend (three per cent).

Mr Dukes said: “Always remember to ring your bank, mobile phone provider and other relevant companies to tell them about your new address too. The number of identity frauds reported to Cifas continues to grow, so the more we can do to protect ourselves, the better.”

Royal Mail’s redirection service allows movers to redirect their mail from their old address to their new home.

Jim Conning, managing director of data services at Royal Mail, said: “Moving into a home is a joyous occasion. But it’s easy to forget how many people have your name and address details, and hard to remember everyone you have to inform when you move home.

“It is worrying that many home movers are leaving themselves open to fraud when they move by simply not informing banks or credit card companies of a recent move.

“If people don’t take out a redirection service or let companies know, 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.”

TOP TIPS FOR FIGHTING FRAUD

Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.

Redirect your post for at least a year.

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, get in touch with the company involved.

Check your personal credit file a few months after you have moved house.

Andy Rawnsley, chief executive of Aspire, with members of the drama group at Hillside Enterprise Centre in Beeston.

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