Is ID fraud another reason to hate your flatmates?
This is a legacy post from the findaproperty.com blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.
They steal your milk, eat your chocolate stash and leave their stuff all over the living room floor. Now, it turns out, your flatmate might be doing more damage than you thought.
Young people, particularly those in shared rented homes, are more than twice as likely as the rest of us to fall victim to identity fraud, according to some disturbing research that crossed FindaProperty’s desk recently.
And a quarter of identity fraud victims suspect it’s their flatmates or lodgers who are responsible for stealing their personal details.
The survey of more than 5,000 victims of identity fraud was conducted by Experian’s ProtectMyID, which offers insurance and support against ID fraud.
“Flat sharing and rental is fast becoming the best option for millions of Brits unable to provide the necessary deposits to make their first step up the property ladder,” says ProtectMyID’s Peter Turner. “In the majority of cases this is a great option to meet new people and experience living away from home for the first time.”
But as one of the fastest growing groups targeted by both professional and amateur fraudsters, flat sharers who live in rented accommodation need to be more vigilant to the dangers and effects of ID theft.
“By sharing your home, flatmate fraudsters have all the access they need to a vast amounts of your personal information in the way of post, personal documents and photos,” Turner warns.
He says there are a number of simple ways flatmates can rent a room without opening themselves up to ID fraud.
- Don’t publicise where your personal banking statements are kept in your room
- Make sure unused credit cards and cheque books are well hidden or locked away
- Keep PINS and passwords private – memorise security information rather than writing it down
- Don’t leave unopened mail lying around the house
- Delete your cookies and history when using a communal or personal computer