The number of people who are becoming victims of identity fraud soared by two-thirds during the first half of the year, figures showed.
Credit reference agency Experian said 2,570 people had contacted its free Victims of Fraud service during the first six months of the year, 68% more than during the same period of 2006.
It said present address fraud, when someone’s mail is intercepted, continued to be the most common identity fraud offence, accounting for 39% of all cases during the first half of the year.
At the same time cases of forwarding address fraud, under which criminals redirect people’s mail to an address where they can collect it, saw the biggest increase to make up 32% of the total, up from 22% during the previous six months.
Identity fraud involves criminals using someone else’s identify, usually to apply for credit or claim benefits in their name, or to use their credit and debit cards.
It is currently Britain’s fastest growing crime and costs the economy an estimated £1.7 billion a year.