Ilford near top of fraud league table

Fraud in Ilford is more common than in almost any other part of the country, new data has revealed.

According to figures from credit information firm Experian, IG postcodes rank seventh highest in the country for the problem.

Last year, there were about 10 reported identity fraud crimes per 10,000 people in the area, with only five other London areas and Reading above Ilford in the table.

One fraudster’s dodgy tactics netted him more than �1million from victims across the UK after he became the ringleader of a “boiler room” scam

Jonathan Whetstone, 31, of Martinsfield Close, Chigwell, was jailed for four years in March after leading a team of young men who used cold-call tactics to persuade people to buy company shares which turned out to be overpriced or worthless.

But the biggest rise in fraud has been with what is called first-party fraud, where an individual gives false information about their personal circumstances, often to a mortgage provider or financial institution.

In Ilford, there were about 12 reported first-party fraud crimes per 10,000 people last year.

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That is more than double the figure in 2009, and represents a 143 per cent leap in 12 months.

It puts Ilford fifth in the table for first-party fraud, with East Ham, Stratford, Hounslow and Woolwich recording higher figures.

In 2008, Ilford was dubbed the “mortgage fraud capital of Britain” by national commentators after a string of cases came to light.

Peter Turner, managing director of Experian, said: “The research shows fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated and therefore more menacing than ever before.

“It is important to have proper safeguards in place to protect your identity such as ensuring that you keep your PINs and passwords private, properly checking your bank statements and taking care when sharing personal details online.”

Other tips to avoid identity fraud include:

n Not revealing too much on social networking sites.

n Making sure online security settings and firewalls are updated regularly.

n Reading bank statements for irregularities and then shred them.

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