More fraudulent current account applications being detected

The number of fraudulent current account applications being detected jumped last year, according to analysis.

Credit-checking company Experian said criminals were behind 159 in every 10,000 current account applications in 2017, up from 138 in 2016.

Current account fraud is more likely to affect men than women, according to the figures, which are based on Experian's fraud data.

Experian operates fraud prevention system National Hunter, which enables financial institutions to cross-match applications against more than 100 million previous application records to spot potential frauds.

Experian said renters are particularly vulnerable to identity fraudsters because their post is often left in communal areas or in mailboxes which can be easily accessed by other people.

Its analysis suggests those who may be particularly vulnerable to fraud are aged 18 to 25, share private low-cost housing and move regularly.

Nick Mothershaw, director of identity and fraud solutions at Experian, said: "Fraudsters know renters can be easy targets and seek out flats where post is left lying around in hallways or on stairs.

"Even locked mailboxes aren't necessarily secure if a fraudster can fish the post out, or find a copy of the key."

He said renters moving often can find it hard to keep track of their post, adding: "Fraudsters can take advantage of an old address knowing people won't be monitoring their mail.

"Keeping an eye on the accounts on your credit report can help to foil fraudsters."

Here are Experian's tips to avoid being a victim of identity fraud:

1. Always shred or destroy documents that contain personal information before throwing them away.

2. Never respond to cold phone calls or emails asking for account details, Pins, passwords or personal information.

3. Do not give too much away on websites; for example, pets' names or children's names could be used as passwords.

4. Register to vote at your current address. If you do not, thieves could use your previous address details to open new credit accounts, and run up debts in your name.

5. Monitor your post regularly so you know when to expect important documents - and when to act if they do not arrive.

6. Redirect your post if you move house.

7. Always use secure, unique passwords for as many online accounts as possible, ideally all of them.

8. Do not store account names and passwords on your smartphone. This information will be a goldmine for fraudsters if your device is lost or stolen.

9. Read bank and card statements regularly.

10. Your credit report will list what you owe, so you can spot applications and spending that have nothing to do with you.