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St Mary's Island is 'identity fraud capital of Kent'

St Mary's Island
St Mary's Island

People living on St Mary's Island, Chatham Maritime, are more likely to be victims of identity fraud than anywhere else in the county, according to a survey published this week.

The ME4 3 postcode is the 24th area most at risk within the UK, with island residents reaching a risk score of 425. This means residents are four times more likely compared to the national average to become a victim of identity fraud.

A study carried out by credit reference company Experian found the number of cases nationwide rose by two thirds last year, with 6,000 incidents reported to one credit reference agency alone, compared with just 3,500 in 2006.

The number of people renting, or living in flats with shared post boxes or using the internet are possible reasons why areas like St Mary’s Island are problem areas for this kind of crime.

James Taylor from Experian said: “We don’t want to panic anyone, but the reality is identity fraud is a growing crime, so people should be vigilant.

“From our experience people feel violated if others are using their personal details, but by making sure you look after your personal information and monitor credit reports you can avoid this extremely inconvenient crime.”

Rachael Brailsford has been living in rented property on the island for two years. She said: “I’m shocked you just don’t expect it from the island.

“It’s just a small community of people and most tend to trust each other.

“That’s probably why they don’t shred important letters and just throw them in the bin. “Everyone knows identity fraud is around, but most people don’t think it’s going to happen them. I will definitely be more careful from now on though.”

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