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Home movers at risk of identify theft

4 August 2015

One of the largest studies of home movers in the UK reveals they are putting themselves at risk of ID fraud by not redirecting their mail when they move home.

  • Over two thirds (68%) are concerned about identity fraud with almost 1 in 3 (30%) admitting they are extremely concerned
  • More than 1 in 10 (15%) received over 20 items of mail addressed to a former resident during the first month in their new home
  • Half (52%) of those who received mail for a previous resident, received sensitive financial mail such as a bank or credit card statements
  • Pension providers, DVLA, mobile phone providers, credit card companies, TV Licensing and banks are most likely not to be informed of a new address
  • Royal Mail commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the third Royal Mail Home Movers Study
  • The findings have been released in partnership with Citizen’s Advice, Scam Awareness Month

Royal Mail commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct the third report into home movers experiences and concerns when it comes to the property market. With over 12,000 respondents, it is one of the largest single investigations of its kind.

The latest findings have been released as part of Citizen’s Advice, Scam Awareness Month. The awareness campaign, now in its third year, aims to give people the knowledge they need to spot and combat fraud. Cifas revealed that there were 34,151 confirmed instances of identity fraud in the first quarter of 2015, a 27% increase from the same period of the previous year. With ID fraud now accounting for just under a half (47%) of all frauds recorded in the first quarter.

Royal Mail is encouraging people across the UK to redirect their mail when moving home in order to protect themselves against identity fraud. If people don’t take out a Redirection Service when changing address, 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. A Redirection Service is the best way to ensure that all personal details are taken with you when move home.

Fraud fears

According to the research 68% say they are concerned about identity fraud with almost 1 in 3 (30%) going a step further and admitting they are extremely concerned.

When it comes to the sexes, men are more worried (69%) about someone stealing their details than women (67%). Those aged between 55-64 year olds are the most fearful about their personal details being stolen (72%), as well as those aged 65-74 and 45-54 (both 71%). The Welsh lead the country when it comes to worrying about fraud (72%).

No longer at this address

Reminders of previous owners linger longer than the new paint smell for home movers as a quarter (26%) of Redirection customers say they have received up to five items of mail for the former occupant during the first month in their new home. More than 1 in 10 (15%) found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on their doorstep.

Of those that did get mail that wasn’t addressed to them, worryingly more than half (52%) said they had received sensitive financial mail.

Spreading the word

The arrival of mail for a former resident is not surprising as it seems that informing companies of a change of address is often left off the ‘to do’ list when moving homes. Pension providers (14%), DVLA (13%), mobile phone providers (11%), credit card companies (8%), banks and TV Licensing (both 7%) were most commonly forgotten.

Family and friends don’t fare any better with one fifth (20%) forgetting to tell an old friend that they were moving, followed by the wider family including aunts, uncles and cousins (4%). Strikingly, 125 (1%) of people surveyed admitted that they had neglected to tell their parent, brother/sister or grandparent when changing address.

Simon Dukes, Cifas Chief Executive, 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.

“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.”

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.

“We want to help keep that joyous feeling for as long as possible by reminding people that with a Royal Mail Redirection even if you forget someone important, nothing is left behind.”

Top tips to fighting ID fraud when moving home from Cifas

  1. Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first
  2. Redirect your post for at least a year
  3. Once you’ve moved, check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned
  4. If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell the issuing company straight away
  5. If you’re concerned, check your personal credit file two to three months after you have moved house

ENDS

For further information, contact:
Rebecca Maund
Rebecca.maund@royalmail.com
0203 338 1007

Notes to editors:

Online survey of Royal Mail customers who took out the Redirection Service in the last six months. The fieldwork was carried out between 24/03/15 and 01/04/2015 - 12,532 respondents in total.

Technical note:
Three waves of fieldwork have been carried out. Fieldwork was conducted by Ipsos MORI between 27/03/14 and 04/04/2014 for the March/April 2014 wave of research, 10/09/14 and 16/09/14 for the September 2014 wave of research, and 24/03/15 and 01/04/2015 for the March/April 2015 wave of research. The fieldwork methodology was an online survey. 

For the March/April 2014 wave of research Royal Mail supplied contact details of customers who took out their Redirection Service between 13 October 2013 and 13 March 2014.  The September 2015 wave surveyed customers who had taken out the service between 14 March and 31 August 2014.  The March/April 2015 wave surveyed customers who had taken out the service between 1 September 2014 and 17 March 2015. These customers were invited to participate by an email supplying an online link. 

UK national coverage was achieved but data has not been weighted by region.  Additionally no quotas or weights have been applied on age, gender or other demographics at national or regional levels.  Therefore the results do not claim to be nationally representative of the UK population or of each region individually. This release reports on the March/April 2015 wave of research.

Regional breakdown

Anglia (PE, CB, IP, NR, RM, IG, CM, CO and SS postcode areas)

70% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 33% admitting they are extremely concerned.

27% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 16% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 51% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension companies (13%), the DVLA (11%) and mobile phone providers (10%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 20% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 4% cousins, 3% aunts/uncles and 3% a close friend.

London (W, WC, E, EC, N, SE and SW postcode areas):

64% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 24% admitting they are extremely concerned.

24% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 19% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 62% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension companies/the DVLA (16% each), mobile phone providers (15%) and banks (12%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 21% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 6% aunts/uncles, 6% a close friend and 5% cousins. 3% forgot to tell grandparents and 3% nieces/nephews about their new address.

Midlands (B, HR, WR, CV, LE, NN, NG, DE, WS, ST, WV, DY and MK postcode areas)

68% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 32% admitting they are extremely concerned.

28% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 16% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 52% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension providers (14%), the DVLA (13%) and mobile phone companies (10%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 20% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 5% aunts/uncles, 5% cousins and 4% a close friend.

North East (YO, WF, LS, HG, BD, HD, HX, NE, DL, TS, HU, S, DN, LN, DH and SR postcode areas)

67% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 30% admitting they are extremely concerned.

25% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 15% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 50% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension providers (13%), the DVLA (12%) and mobile phone companies (10%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 21% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 5% cousins, 4% aunts/uncles and 3% a close friend.

North West (L, CW, WA, BB, CA, BL, WN, PR, FY, LA, SK, M and OL postcode areas)

69% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 32% admitting they are extremely concerned.

24% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 17% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 50% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

The DVLA (14%), pension providers (13%) and mobile phone companies (11%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 19% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 5% cousins, 4% aunts/uncles and 3% a close friend.

South East (DA, BR, SM, CR, RH, BN, TN, CT, ME, KT, TW and GU postcode areas)

67% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 29% admitting they are extremely concerned.

26% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 17% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 53% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension providers (14%), the DVLA (13%) and mobile phone companies (11%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 21% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 4% forgot to tell an aunt/ uncle, 4% cousins and 4% a close friend.

South West (BA, TA, BS, DT, BH, SO, SP, PO, PL, TQ, EX and TR postcode areas)

68% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 27% admitting they are extremely concerned.

28% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 14% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 54% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension providers/ the DVLA (13% each), mobile phone companies (12%) and credit card companies/TV licensing (7%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 22% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 5% aunts/ uncles and 5% cousins. 3% forgot to tell a close friend about their new address.

Thames Valley (OX, RG, SN, SL, HA, UB, HP, GL, NW, AL, EN, LU, SG and WD postcode areas)

67% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 29% admitting they are extremely concerned.

27% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 13% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 55% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

Pension providers (16%), the DVLA (15%) and mobile phone companies (11%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 22% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 4% aunts/uncles, and 4% cousins 3% forgot to tell a close friend about their new address.

Scotland

65% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 27% admitting they are extremely concerned.

31% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 14% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 50% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

The DVLA (16%), pension providers (14%) and mobile phone companies (13%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 20% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 4% aunts/uncles and 4% cousins. 3% forgot to tell a close friend about their new address.

Wales

72% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 34% admitting they are extremely concerned.

28% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 14% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 52% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

The DVLA (15%), pension providers (14%) and mobile phone companies (9%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 19% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 5% aunts/uncles and 5% cousins. 3% forgot to tell a close friends about their new address.

Northern Ireland

59% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud with 33% admitting they are extremely concerned.

28% have received up to 5 items of mail for a former resident during the first month in their new home while 10% found in excess of 20 items of mail sitting on the doorstep over just 30 days. 47% of those who have received mail for a former resident of their property say they have received sensitive financial mail.

The DVLA (22%), mobile phone companies/TV licensing (17% each), pension providers (15%) and credit card companies (14%) were the most forgotten among a list of organisations shown to respondents when it came to informing them about a new address. From a list of friend/relation types, 20% forgot to tell an old friend where contact is limited to a few times a year, 6% aunts/uncles, 6% a close friend and 6% cousins. 3% forgot to tell brothers/ sisters about their new address. 

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