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Home mover fraud rises by 5.6% according to new figures

19 June 2017
  • Newly released Cifas figures reveal that cases of ‘previous occupier’ fraud rose by more than 5.6% last year. There were 15,005 reported cases in 2015, rising to 15,851 in 2016.
  • This rise means that ‘previous occupier’ fraud now accounts for 9.2% of all identity fraud in the UK.
  • ‘Previous’ occupier fraud occurs when someone moves out of a house and the new occupant obtains the former occupier’s personal details to fraudulently apply for loans, credit cards etc.
  • House movers are being urged by Royal Mail and Cifas to take greater care to protect their identities when moving house 
  • According to Royal Mail research nearly half of people (47%¹) don’t take out a Redirection when they move. This puts them at risk of their personal details falling into the wrong hands.

Newly released figures from Cifas reveal that cases of ‘previous occupier’ fraud rose by more than 5.6% last year. There were 15,005 reported cases in 2015 and 15,851 in 2016. Previous occupier fraud now accounts for 9.2% of all identity fraud in the UK.

Previous occupier fraud occurs when someone moves out of a house and the new occupant obtains the former occupier’s personal details to fraudulently apply loans, credit cards etc.

In light of these new figures, Royal Mail and Cifas are urging people to take much greater care of their identity when moving home. Royal Mail’s research has found that, worryingly, nearly half (47%) don’t take out a direction when they move.

Jim Conning, Managing Director of Data Servicesat Royal Mail, said:
“The rise in this kind of fraud is worrying to see. We know from our own research that people move on average every 18 months leaving fraudsters with a huge opportunity.

“Whether you are renting or buying, taking out a Redirection reduces the chances of your personal details falling into the wrong hands – leaving you one less thing to worry about while you are settling into your new home.”

Simon Dukes, Chief Executive, Cifas said:
“Recent figures released by Cifas reveal that cases of identity fraud reached record levels in 2016.  The frauds are usually very sophisticated with the fraudster often using the victim’s genuine current address to commit identity fraud. Keeping track of your mail when you change address is a simple step that will make a fraudster’s job much more difficult and reduce the opportunities for them to exploit your personal data. Today’s data shows that fraudsters attempted to use this tactic over 15,000 times last year so we all need to do what we can to avoid becoming a victim of an identity fraud.”


Top tips on fighting identity fraud when moving home

  • Inform any companies that regularly send you post that you are moving so your address can be updated
  • Don’t throw out anything containing your name, address or financial details without shredding it first
  • Redirect your post for at least six months to a year if you can
  • Once you’ve moved, 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, tell the issuing company straight away
  • If you’re concerned, check your personal credit file two to three months after you have moved house

Issued by: 
Royal Mail press office 
Rebecca Maund
0203 338 1007

Notes to Editors

¹Consumer CSI Survey February 2017: 2,616 respondents

About Royal Mail

Royal Mail plc is the parent company of Royal Mail Group Limited, the leading provider of postal and delivery services in the UK and the UK’s designated universal postal service provider. UK Parcels, International and Letters (“UKPIL”) comprises the company’s UK and international parcels and letters delivery businesses operating under the “Royal Mail” and “Parcelforce Worldwide” brands. Through the Royal Mail Core Network, the company delivers a one-price-goes-anywhere service on a range of parcels and letters products. Royal Mail has the capability to deliver to more than 29 million addresses in the UK, six days a week (excluding UK public holidays). Parcelforce Worldwide operates a separate UK network which collects and delivers express parcels. Royal Mail also owns General Logistics Systems (GLS) which operates one of the largest ground-based, deferred parcel delivery networks in Europe.

About Cifas

Cifas aims to make the UK a safer place to do business, by enabling organisations in every sector to prevent fraud and protect the public through the sharing of confirmed fraud data. Cifas is a not-for-profit organisation and has over 360 members spanning the public and private sectors. In 2016 alone, Cifas members prevented over £1 billion of avoidable fraud losses by using Cifas databases. Cifas also offers Protective Registration for individuals whose identities are at risk of being used fraudulently, for instance after a burglary. In 2014, Cifas launched a scheme called Protecting the Vulnerable. This service is offered free of charge to local authorities to protect those under the care of Court Deputies who are unable to access financial products and whose identities may be at risk.

For more information call 0203 004 3609 or email Sarah Samee.  


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Posted by: Cifas Press Team

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