Almost two-thirds of UK identity theft victims admit to being easy prey by taking no precautions to look after their personal information, according to a recent report by credit protection firm CPP.
A further 15 per cent of respondents admitted to not changing their behaviour after an ID theft incident, leaving themselves open to another attack.
The survey of 3,000 people who had already fallen victim to some sort of identity theft uncovered an attitude of 'I don't really care' and 'It won't happen again'.
This apathy, coupled with a lack of basic knowledge and understanding, leaves victims just as vulnerable to a repeat incident, according to CPP.
"Identity theft can take months to resolve and can ruin your credit rating, so it is worrying that many victims have not put simple measures in place to stop it happening again," said CPP spokesman Danny Harrison.
"Two-thirds of victims also admit that they were not as careful as they should have been, which raises an interesting question of liability and who foots the bill."
CPP said that simple steps, such as refusing to give out personal details over the phone or internet, and making email secure, can dramatically reduce the chances of falling victim to identity theft.
Despite the effectiveness of these simple steps, one in five victims either do not understand how to secure personal data, are too lazy to take action or believe that fraudsters will win whatever steps they take.
Around 40 per cent indicated that losing money through identity theft made them more concerned about looking after their personal details, while 28 per cent said that they would have to become a victim a second time before taking more care.
Only a third of victims had taken steps to prevent a second theft, while seven per cent accepted it as a part of life.
"The sad reality is that identity theft is here to stay. Two years ago victims were falling victim to one or two scams, but today it is more likely to be five or six different scams," said Harrison.
"Either fraudsters are becoming more confident at applying for multiple lines of credit, or even more worryingly they are selling stolen personal information as a valuable commodity.
"It is therefore really important that people put in place preventative measures to stop it happening in the first place as it can snowball into something really stressful and expensive."
This study coincides with similar research conducted at Carnegie Mellon University, which suggests that users caught out by phishing attacks actually learn their lesson and take steps to prevent it happening again.
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