Identity crime could be sitting on your doorstep, or at least your old one according to a study by Royal Mail. In one of the largest studies conducted of home movers in the UK Royal Mail found 1 in 10 home owners are at risk of ID crime by not redirecting their mail.
Moving home can be exciting and sometimes feel like a fresh start but moving into your dream home can all too quickly be ruined if you become a victim of identity crime just by your post falling into the wrong hands.
If you don’t redirect your mail it can carry on being posted to your old address which could give fraudsters an easy opportunity to potentially steal your personal details. More than half of those surveyed said they had received sensitive financial mail meant for others and 26% said in the first month of moving in they had received up to 5 items of the previous occupant’s mail.
The study by Royal Mail and IPSOS MORI surveyed home owners’ experiences and concerns about the property market and found that 68% were concerned about identity fraud. However when informing organisations about a new address the most commonly forgotten along with redirecting mail are pension providers, DVLA, mobile phone providers, credit card companies, banks and TV licensing. In the first four months of 2015 Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, recorded a 27% increase in cases of identity fraud for the same period.*
How can you avoid falling victim
You can use a Redirection Service like this one by Royal Mail to ensure your post gets delivered to your new address. Also if you’re going to be away for a long period it is wise to get your post sent to a trusted friend or relatives home otherwise use Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service.
Cifas have provided their tips for safeguarding against identity crime when moving:
- Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
- Redirect your post for at least a year.
- 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.
So whether you’re moving house or thinking of moving ensure you have ‘redirect mail’ on that to do list to avoid your personal information being used by potential fraudsters. If you’ve moved home and are receiving the former occupants mail score through the address with a pen, write on the front of the envelope ‘NOT KNOWN AT THIS ADDRESS, RETURN TO SENDER’ and place it back into a post box, which is free of charge.
*Approximately 34,151 cases between January and April 2015.