Are you living in an identity theft hotzone?

Yesterday a report from Experian revealed that incidents of identity theft in the United Kingdom have risen 66 percent in the last year, with most victims living in London.

According to Experian, residents in College Gardens in Tooting, south London, were almost five times more likely to fall victim to identity thieves than average.  Other hotzones – which saw more than four times the usual level of reported ID fraud according  to Experian – were scattered across the country. Great Cambourne near Cambridge, the village of Far Cotton, Northampton and the large housing estate of Ingleby Barwick, Stockton-on-Tees were singled out for attention.

Experian report

The fact is, however, that cybercriminals looking to steal information for financial gain will take whatever they can get their hands on, and that users everywhere should ensure their identities are protected online and that their computer security is up to date.  This includes ensuring no personal information is posted on social networking sites, software is patched and up to date, and PCs are running effective anti-malware and anti-spam solutions.

While young professionals living in Kensington are likely to be attractive targets for cybercriminals, the reality is that British computers from Lands End to John o’Groats are at risk – hackers will steal identities from anyone who leaves their personal information open to snooping crooks.

What’s more, fraudsters are increasingly turning to corporate identity theft – the rewards can be much greater and often the effort is the same.  Home workers using their own PCs are often the weakest link in corporate defences, so businesses and consumers alike mustn’t get complacent and must ensure all vectors of attack are protected, including ensuring remote workers’ PCs meet company security settings.

So whether you live in Tooting or Timbuktu, make sure you’re making life for the identity thieves as hard as possible by properly defending your personal information.