TWO out of three people underestimate the risk of being the victim of identity theft, despite growing awareness of the crime, a survey showed.
Only a third of people knew they had a one in 1,000 chance of falling victim to the crime, with nearly a quarter of people thinking the risk was 15 times less than it actually is, according to credit reference group MyCallcredit.
But two-thirds of people said they were now more aware of the risks of identity theft, under which fraudsters use details such as a person's name, address and date of birth to apply for credit or benefits in their name, or use their credit card details to buy things.
Some 86% of people said they tried to protect themselves from becoming victims of identity fraudsters by shredding documents, checking their credit file and cancelling unused credit facilities.
Among people who were not taking steps to protect themselves, half said it was because they couldn't be bothered or didn't think it would happen to them.
People aged between 16 and 24 are most clued up about the risk of identity theft, with 41% knowing they had a one in 1,000 chance of being a victim. Yet, only 63% were taking steps to protect themselves from the crime.