Junk Mail Fraud Risk
140,000 householders fall victim to identity fraud each year

Picture of a bin with money in it to promote the CPP campaignDo you just bin your junk mail without even opening it or shredding it? Then you are among the 80% of the population who are putting themselves at risk of identity theft.

Every year we are bombarded by a staggering 15 billion pieces of junk mail, equal to 626 unsolicited letters per British household, but the consequences are more than just simple irritation on the part of the recipient.

Those of us who admit to throwing our junk mail away without even taking it out of the envelope are putting ourselves at high risk of fraud. All an opportunistic thief needs to cash in on our identities is a name and address.

Over a lifetime we will each throw 49,000 letters in the bin – effectively giving fraudsters 49,000 opportunities to steal our identities, according to a shocking poll by CPP.

A staggering 140,000 householders fall victim to identity fraud every year and 13% of us are caught out due to stolen mail.

But the statistics reveal we are most at risk when moving house. 16% of us fail to tell people when we move, with a quarter of us getting so wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of changing homes we forget to tell banks, utility companies and the DVLA for at least 2 weeks.

Four out of 10 movers won’t bother to inform catalogue companies when they change address and 8% forget to tell their local council, risking personal information being sent to the wrong door. With the average person now moving 16 times in their lives most of us are leaving a clear paper trail for thieves to follow.

But despite previous address fraud being the most common method of identity theft, accounting for 42% of cases, almost a third of us naively rely on the new occupants of our old homes to forward our mail on to us. But shockingly less than half of new owners bother to send on any correspondence at all.

A spokesman from CPP said: “The results from this survey are terrifying – people don’t realise that by dropping 49,000 letters in the bin, they are effectively giving fraudsters 49,000 opportunities to steal their identity.”

For more information on how to combat identity theft and fool the thieves visit: www.cpp.co.uk.

CPP top tips to reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft:
1. Make sure your post is secure and know when to expect your credit card, utility bills and bank statements - if they don't turn up, ring up and ask why
2. Keep your personal information safe. If someone asks for your personal details ask yourself why they would need them. This even applies to any online enquiries
3. Don't write down PIN numbers, passwords, user names unless you absolutely have to do so, and if you do, keep them very secure and to yourself
4. If you are going to throw away post with your personal details shred it first - this even includes junk mail
5. If you move house tell your bank, credit card and utility providers. Use the Royal Mail redirection service and consider registering with the mail preference service to prevent mail going to your old address
6. If you store valuable documents at home, for example, passports, driving licence and bank statements, keep them hidden and secure. Never take these documents out with you unless you absolutely have to. If you store personal information on your PC, install up-to-date security software

Tell-tell signs your identity has been stolen

1. Accounts on your credit report that don't belong to you
2. Welcome letters from credit card/loan companies that you never opened
3. Calls from debt collection agencies chasing you for money that you never borrowed
4. Important post gone missing
5. Refused credit
6. Entries on your bank statements that you don't recognise