Indentity theft threat to home movers

Of the three quarters of movers (76 per cent) who re-direct their post, at least one in ten (11 per cent) is still at risk by leaving personal documents behind.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK and Experian has identified moving home as one of the key events that put people at risk. Almost half (43 per cent) of identity theft cases in the UK have occurred at a previous address.

Despite this, the research shows a huge number of people leave behind key personal information when they move, which can be used to commit identity fraud. These include mail order catalogues addressed to them (11 per cent), personal mail / letters (nine per cent or 9%) and even bank statements and utility bills (2 per cent).

A quarter (24 per cent) of people fail to re-direct their post when they move and 70 per cent of new residents report receiving post addressed to the previous occupier. A huge 40 per cent of new residents report that they receive at least one letter addressed to a previous occupier every month. Almost a quarter (24 per cent) receive post addressed to several previous occupiers. This post often includes documents containing valuable personal information that a fraudster can use to obtain credit in someone else’s name, putting their ability to obtain a mortgage, loan or other financial product in jeopardy.

Over a third of new residents (38 per cent) report receiving credit card application forms addressed to previous occupants, 36 per cent have received mail order catalogues and 15 per cent have received bank or credit card statements.

Over a third (36 per cent) of 17-25 year olds receive post addressed to previous occupiers once a week or more, a common problem in rented student accommodation. And almost one in 10 (8 per cent) have received important personal documents belonging to the previous occupier, such as a passport or cheque book.

More than 9 out of ten (94 per cent) of people aged 66+ arrange for their post to be re-directed when moving home, taking more steps to protect their financial assets. Younger people should also take care to protect their identity, as damage to their credit score by an identity fraudster could affect their creditworthiness in years to come, leading to them being refused a mortgage, loan or credit card.

But it’s not just their identity that forgetful Britons are leaving behind. The research shows that we regularly leave behind other valuable items, including paintings, jewellery, cash, cars, sunbeds and even our pets.

Over one in four people (44 per cent) have left behind furniture and household accessories when moving house, with over a quarter (28 per cent) also forgetting to pack electrical goods and appliances. A small number have even left behind their pets, including cats, goats and fish — although no dogs.

The Metropolitan Police claim that identity theft is used by criminals involved in illegal immigration and terrorism and other economic crime.

Detective Chief InspectorDavid Thompsonof the Metropolitan Police comments: "We support promoting awareness of this area of criminality and would ask members of the public to take whatever steps are necessary to reduce the risks of their identity being stolen."

Jim Hodgkins, Managing Director of, comments: "Moving home can be a stressful time, but it is crucial that you don’t leave yourself open to identity theft by leaving your personal information behind at your old address.

"If you are worried that you may have left behind personal information and could be at risk from identity theft, a credit monitoring service, such as, will alert you to any changes to your credit report, so you can take any necessary action as soon as possible." tips for moving house:

1. Re-direct your post as soon as you move - this will ensure your mail will not go to your previous address and cannot be intercepted

2. Buy a shredder — shred any personal documents before placing them in the bin

3. Inform your credit card companies, bank and other financial organisations you have a relationship with that you have moved — and make sure they update their systems

4. Register with the Mailing Preference Service at your old address

5. Sign up to’s free 30 day trial — use a credit monitoring service to keep tabs on your credit report and receive alerts if anyone fraudulently applies for credit using your identity