Monday, 16 April 2007

ID Theft In The UK

How likely is is that thieves will steal your identity? Newspaper headlines, adverts and TV news reports suggest that it's a serious risk. I have been looking at the UK crime figures and the good news is that you are very unlikely to become a victim of ID theft. The bad news is that you are much more likely to get beaten up by a criminal.

Here's a simple breakdown, using figures from the UK's Home Office Crime Statistics site. I am assuming that the UK population is 60,609,153, because that's what the CIA The World Factbook says today.

  • Murder: two people per day (0.001 per cent of the population per year)
  • Sexual assault: 170 people per day (0.1 per cent of the population per year)
  • Violent crime: 3,400 people per day (two per cent of the population per year)

The figure I have for identity theft comes from Experian, so this is not an official government figure. This is the number of ID theft victims who have contacted the organisation directly, in the space of six months:

2,124

If we double this figure we can guess that 4,248 people (0.007 per cent of the population per year) will have contacted Experian in a 12 month period. That comes to around 12 people per day.

This is a low figure. What is more, you are more likely to be in that 0.007 per cent if you live in London, specifically Victoria Street in Westminster. If you live outside the M25 area the risk is reduced dramatically.

If you are still worried, find out how to further reduce the risks of ID theft (and discover how the fraudsters work their scams).