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Identity fraud numbers increase

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By Adam Saville  

There was a 10% rise in identity fraud over the last year, according to the latest research by Direct Line.

Identity fraud is Britain’s fastest growing crime and according to Home Office data currently costs the UK £1.7 billion a year. Figures from the insurer show 136,966 incidents were reported between January and September 2007 – a 10% increase on the same period a year ago. Without expert advice, the situation may take as long a 400 hours to rectify and can cost up to £8000, according to the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service (CIFAS).

To combat identity fraud, Direct Line has advised customers to keep their documents, PIN and password details safe, and shred old bank statements. People should be wary of ‘phishing’ emails and phone calls and not disclose personal information over the internet or phone. Also when moving house, it is a good idea subscribe to a redirection service.

Andrew Lowe, head of home insurance at Direct Line, said: “Identity Fraud is a serious threat with the number of reported victims having increased significantly over the past eight years. Victims of identity fraud could encounter debt collectors, court actions and difficulties getting a mortgage, credit card or bank account if their credit report is not corrected.”

As a response to the rise in identity fraud, Direct Line is teaming up with Experian to provide policy holders with free access to identity fraud assistance. The service will be available to customers with a combined buildings and contents insurance policy.

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