Eight out of ten people are concerned about becoming a victim of identity theft
Saga responds to customer's concerns by launching Identity Theft insurance as part of their Home Insurance and producing an advice leaflet with the Home Office
Call 0808 101 5100 for more information or visit saga.co.uk
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Britain with approximately 120,000 cases reported in 2004, more than a six fold increase since 1999*. Figures from Saga Home Insurance** show that the majority of people in GB (86%) are concerned about this latest form of crime, but the implications extend well beyond a missing credit card. A stolen identity could result in refused mortgage or loan applications, debt collectors arriving on your doorstep and even being arrested whilst travelling abroad.
Despite this level of concern, less than a half of all adults (46%) claim to take regular steps to protect themselves by destroying personal letters, bills or receipts they no longer want to keep. Almost a quarter of adults admit to never take these precautions.
The over 50s are far more vigilant when it comes to ensuring their personal details don't fall into the wrong hands. 59% claim to always destroy their personal documents compared with 37% of those under 50. Young people, between 16-24, are least likely to protect themselves - 44% never destroy their unwanted personal documents.
Michael Cutbill, Marketing Director, Saga, commented: "Identity theft is a crime of our times and can cost people a great deal of effort and money to rectify. To avoid becoming a victim, you need to stay alert and take some common-sense steps."
Saga's new leaflet on protecting yourself against identity theft includes the following hints and tips:
- Always be wary of those soliciting your personal information, even friendly or official-looking people who stop you in the street or call at your home. Be sure they are genuine and do they really need your personal details?
- Destroy any unwanted documents that contain your personal information, preferably by using a shredder. Be extra vigilant when disposing of bills, credit card slips and bank statements.
- Do not keep security numbers, PINs or passwords on your person, this includes stored in your mobile phone.
- Check your bank, credit card statements and telephone bills - if you notice anything unfamiliar, contact your bank or credit card provider immediately.
- Ensure that your purse or wallet contains the minimum amount of personal details - think twice before carrying your credit cards and driving licence in the same place.
- Personal mail is often stolen as part of identity theft. Take extra care if you live in a property with a communal post area.
If you suspect that your post is going missing then contact the Royal Mail Customer Enquiry Line on 08457 740 740.
More information about identity theft can be found at www.cifas.org.uk or www.identity-theft.org.uk
Peter Hurst, Chief Executive, CIFAS, said: "CIFAS has been monitoring identity fraud for over 10 years. Since 1999 the number of cases has risen six fold to 120,000 and today, more than ever, all consumers need to take steps to protect their identities. Companies cannot fight this crime on their own. We all have a responsibility to help."
Saga Home and Contents Insurance is available to people aged 50 and over.
For a free Identity Theft guide or for information on Saga Home Insurance,
call 0808 101 5100 or visit the Saga website on www.saga.co.uk
*Figures issued by CIFAS (The UK's Fraud Prevention Service)
** Research carried out by BMRB (British Market Research Bureau) on behalf of Saga Insurance Ltd in June 2004 on a nationally representative sample of 1,0001 adults aged 16 .
Identity theft provides up to 5,000 of expenses, per household, in any one policy period
Saga's Identity Theft Cover is available only as an add-on to Saga Home Contents Insurance at 20 per annum and offers the following features:
A maximum of 5,000 for expenses incurred in defending your good name and reinstating your credit status
Up to 50 a day (overall maximum 1,000) to cover lost wages if you need to take time off work to sort out an identity theft
Up to 500 cover for loan application fees, if you have a loan refused following identity theft and are forced to re-apply
Cover for legal fees to defend actions brought incorrectly by merchants and collection agencies following an identity theft
Cover for legal fees to remove wrongly recorded civil or criminal judgements
Legal fees to challenge the accuracy of credit files and other financial records
Up to 100 towards your telephone and postage costs incurred whilst recreating your financial identity
For further press information please contact the Saga Press Office on: 01303 771529.