Brits’ overloaded wallets leave them vulnerable to fraud

People’s everyday behaviour is leaving them vulnerable to fraud, according to research from Equifax, the consumer and business insights expert.

An online survey of over 2,000 people found that nearly three quarters (74%) of Brits carry at least two debit or credit cards in their purse or wallet, and nearly one in four (38%) carry three or more cards. Three in five people (60%) carry a debit or credit card and their driving licence, making their purse or wallet a prize draw for fraudsters.

It takes just three key pieces of information to steal a person’s identity, their name, address and date of birth. Driving licenses contain all the required information, so great swathes of the UK population are leaving themselves hugely vulnerable to becoming a victim of fraud, especially pertinent given the 11% year-on-year rise in muggings nationwide reported by the ONS. Once someone’s identity is compromised, fraudsters will attempt to access the victim’s bank accounts, as well as potentially taking out loans, credit cards, and mobile phones contracts in their name.

Worryingly, 2% of both 18-24 year olds and 45-54 year olds carry a list of passwords in their purse or wallet, with 1% of the male population (equating to over 255,000 people nationwide) admitting to doing so.

Keith McGill, head of fraud at Equifax, said: “In an era where fraudsters are using increasingly sophisticated methods, there’s a clear and present threat of identity theft for all of us. We can never truly eliminate the risk but by taking sensible measures, the level of threat can be greatly reduced. People are taking unnecessary risks by carrying items containing sensitive personal information such as driving licenses, national insurance cards, and even written lists of passwords, making them walking targets for would-be fraudsters. We urge them to think carefully about what they take out with them on a day-to-day basis, and only carry what they really need.”