A third of home movers forget to tell at least one of their financial service providers that they have moved home, a study by Royal Mail has revealed. A redirected letter can provide a timely reminder to do so – and that can help reduce the risk of identity fraud.

The survey of almost 13,000 home movers who have used Royal Mail Redirection Services® revealed that 34 per cent were reminded that they had not told at least one of their financial service providers of their home move when they received a redirected letter from the companies.

This is despite three quarters (76 per cent) of home movers surveyed saying they are concerned about identity fraud. The study also found that half of home movers surveyed (48 per cent) have received what they believe to be sensitive financial information for someone who used to live at their address.

Home owners putting themselves at risk of identity fraud

The study suggests people are putting themselves at risk of identity fraud by failing to ensure that important financial information about them follows them to their new address. Identity fraud is when stolen personal details are used to commit fraud. In 2013 Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, received 133,216 identity enabled reports of fraud with a total value of £410 million.

In 2013 Action Fraud received 133,216 identity enabled reports of fraud.

Almost one in five people (18 per cent) who took part in Royal Mail’s study admitted that a redirected letter from their pension company prompted them to notify the company of their change of address. For banks and credit card companies, the figure stood at 15 per cent.

This compares with just five per cent who said they realised they had forgotten to tell their telephone or broadband provider they had moved home when they received a redirect letter. 14 per cent said the same for the TV license and 13 per cent for their mobile phone.

Protecting against identity fraud

Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity to commit identity fraud. The first an individual may know that they have become the victim of identity theft is when they receive bills or invoices for items they didn’t order, or letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t theirs.

Action Fraud advises individuals to redirect their mail for at least a year after moving home to help protect them from identity fraud. For further information on ways to protect against identity fraud, people should visit the identity fraud page of the Action Fraud Website.

“76% of home movers surveyed say they are concerned about identity fraud”

Andrea Martin, Royal Mail’s Managing Director of Data Strategy, said: “Royal Mail’s research shows that some home owners are increasing the risk that sensitive personal information can find its way into the wrong hands by not telling financial service providers they have moved home. Our study showed that by taking out a mail Redirection, people who do forget to tell companies that they have moved home are reminded to do so by the redirected mail they receive at their new address.”

Stephen Proffitt, Head of Action Fraud said: “If someone fails to tell their financial services provider, whether it is a bank or pension company, they have moved home, they are increasing the risk that personal information could fall into the wrong hands and be used fraudulently.

“Action Fraud received more than 130,000 reports of identity enabled fraud in 2013, valued at £410 million. There are a range of measures individuals can take to reduce the risk of identity fraud, including taking out a mail redirection when they move home.”

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