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Catch up with the latest press releases from LV=

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'Identity Burglary' Crimewave Hits British Homeowners

Press release: 23/09/2009

  • The number of homeowners being burgled specifically for their personal documents is set to soar in the next five years

  • A quarter of all burglary victims now fall victim to ID fraud as a direct result of a break-in

  • With each case of ID fraud costing an average of £2,150 to sort out, ‘ID burglary’ has cost Britain £150 million in the past year alone [1]

  • Three quarters of burglary victims have identity documents such as bank statements, driving licences and bills stolen

  • ‘Bundles’ of personal identity documents reach on average £150 on the black market

One in seven burglaries last year was carried out solely in an attempt to steal the homeowner’s personal details a new report has found.

According to a report by criminologists for home insurer LV=, a quarter of all burglary victims in the past year fell prey to ID fraud as a direct result of a break in. The research, which questioned both burglary victims and convicted fraudsters, reveals the scale of the crime and fraudsters’ tricks of the trade.

‘ID burglary’ is estimated to cost the UK over £150 million per year to rectify.

Among all break-ins, close to three quarters (74%) now result in the theft of personal and financial documents such as credit cards, driving licences and bank statements, with 15% of victims being targeted specifically for documents containing their personal details.

With ID fraud expected to double in the next five years [2] , this type of crime is likely to increase in the coming years. According to the report the number of home burglaries involving personal data theft is predicted to rise by 33% year on year if ID fraud continues to increase at its current rate.

The LV= report found that a credit card, coupled with a form of ID such as a bank statement, utility bill or National Insurance number, are prized items on the black market as they make it easier for fraudsters to steal an identity. Individual identity documents can change hands for around £15, whereas fraudsters will typically pay £150 for a ‘bundle’ of personal identity information.

And as one fraudster said: "So many people make my job really easy by sticking all the key documents together in one place. And for all the family too, so you often get three or four identities for the price of one, so to speak."

LV= is urging homeowners to ensure they have adequate home security measures in place and store their important documents securely to minimise the risk of ID fraud.

While ‘identity burglars’ are becoming more common, even thieves after more traditional items such as purses or wallets are likely to take the opportunity to steal personal details as well, because they know they can sell these on. Around 94% of handbags, wallets and purses contain at least one form of personal identity document.

To help assist the growing number of people affected by ID fraud, LV=’s home insurance policy now includes free access to a special identity fraud helpline.

John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= home insurance, said: “As the trend for identity fraud increases, we would strongly urge homeowners to take appropriate measures to limit their chances of being targeted by thieves and fraudsters. As well as installing home security measures such as burglary alarms and security lights, homeowners should ensure they store personal documents securely and if possible separately to minimise the risk of ID theft.

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LV= is a registered trade mark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs over 3,800 people, serves around 3.6 million customers and members, and manages around £7 billion on their behalf. We are also the UK’s largest friendly society (Association of Friendly Societies Key Statistics 2008, total net assets) and a leading mutual financial services provider.

Liverpool Victoria Insurance Company Limited, registered in England and Wales number 3232514, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 202965. Registered address for both companies: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF. Tel: 01202 292333.

All data, unless otherwise stated, is taken from the following report - Invenio Research Limited, "Identity Burglary: A study (Invenio Research, London 2009)". The survey of domestic burglary victims involved telephone interviews with 202 adult participants conducted between April and August 2009. Comments and other qualitative data from fraudsters were elicited by means of semi-structured interviews conducted at public locations around the country.

[1] According to Police statistics, last year there were 278,000 burglaries. One quarter of these result in ID theft (71,750). Opinium research conducted for LV= among 6,000 adults between 20 and 27 March 2009 found that the average cost of clearing your name as a result of identity fraud is £2,174. Therefore £2174 x 71,750 = £155,984,500.
[2]According to the Opinium research 2% of people have been a victim of identity fraud. The UK adult population (over 18) is 47.9 million (derived from the [3]Office for National Statistics’ Labour Force Survey) CEBR predicts cases will rise by 440,000 over the next five years, i.e. the total number of cases will almost double