Keep your personal information safe online

Protect your personal information online

Protect your personal information online

While most of us are getting better at protecting our personal information online, the amount of illegally traded information online is going up and up.

An independent study commissioned by Experian has found that more than 110 million pieces of data have been bought and sold by criminals so far in 2014, an increase of 40% from last year alone and 300% on the total amount traded in 2012.*

96.5% of the illegally traded data is login credentials like username and password combinations. Getting into online accounts can give identity fraudsters access to huge amounts of information such as where you bank or shop, linked accounts which may have passwords saved automatically and all the personal information you may have shared over email.

The other data traded is mainly passport details and payment card details, such as card number, expiry date and the security code (three-digit CVV2 number) from the back of the card.

As we mark Get Safe Online week, it seems that on the other hand, Britons are arguably getting more web-savvy. Experian also found that:**

  • The average Briton now has 19 different online accounts (27% lower than 2012)
  • 25-34 year olds are the most prolific with 28 accounts each (30% lower than 2012)
  • Just one in 20 sign up to six or more new online accounts each month, compared to one in five in 2012.

Having said that, many of us are still lax with our password behaviour:

  • 1 in 10 Britons use an average of just seven different passwords to keep their information safe
  • One in 20 use the same log in details for all of their online accounts
  • 1 in 10 Britons never change their passwords.

There are many things you can do to take better care of your online passwords – our blog post here has five top tips to make sure that your passwords are working to protect your ID.

With a free 30-day trial of CreditExpert*** you can get unlimited views of your Experian Credit Report, which shows credit activity in your name so you can spot potentially fraudulent activity.  If you think you have become a victim of identity fraud, notify the police, contact your bank and check your credit report. We have a list of steps you can take in our blog post here.

Experian’s Victims of Fraud service is also available free to fraud victims, and has a dedicated team to give expert advice and support tailored to particular circumstances.

 *Analysis carried every six months by an independent security consultant on behalf of Experian
**External consumer research conducted by Opinion Matters among a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults in October 2013.

****A Monthly fee of £14.99 applies after your trial. You may cancel during your 30 day trial without charge. 30 day free trial available to new customers only. Trial period starts on registration – further ID verification may be required to access the full service which may take up to 5 days.

8 thoughts on “Keep your personal information safe online

  1. David Hallworth

    I find it ironic that a company offering advice on protecting personal data is at the same time selling my personal data.
    This week I received a ‘happy birthday’ letter from a business in my area. When I phoned to find out how they knew my name, address and date of birth they told me they had bought it from a company called Selectabase, who in turn told me they had bought my details from Experian.
    I find it slightly sinister that people who don’t know me – businesses I have never had any contact with – know my name, date of birth and address. I consider it an invasion of my privacy.
    I can only imagine Experian received my personal data from the electoral register, but as it says on the voter registration form:
    ‘It can only be used for: electoral purposes, crime prevention and detection, and the vetting of applicants for credit. It is a criminal offence to use it for any unauthorised purpose or to pass it on to anyone else’
    it looks like Experian is criminally passing on my personal data to these people. I’d like it to stop, please. I wanted to complain formally to Experian about this but there doesn’t seem to be an email address for general complaints or even for general contact on the Experian website. Perhaps other victims of unauthroised data reselling will read this and be able to advise me of further action to take.

    1. Neil Stone

      Hi David.

      Thanks for your post.

      I understand that you have received unwanted contact from a company that you don’t recognise, if you email your details (name and address) to me at I will be able to remove your name from any marketing lists that we hold.

      The information that we hold on marketing lists is always obtained with consent, and can come from companies that you have made applications to in the past.

      The electoral roll information that we hold does not include dates of birth. When you register to vote with your Local Authority, you’re given the option of whether you would like your name to appear on the Edited Register as well as the Full Register.

      The Full Register lists everyone who is entitled to vote and only certain people and organisations can look at this. They can only use it for legitimate business purposes which include electoral purposes, crime prevention and checking your identity when you apply for credit.

      The Edited Register can be obtained by anyone who asks for a copy and they can use it for any purpose, although you can opt out of this when you register to vote by contacting your Electoral Registration Officer.

      We’re provided with the Full and Edited Registers. If a company carries out a search with Experian and it’s not for credit purposes, or for crime prevention, we’ll only provide them with details of the Edited Register.

      To help stop unwanted marketing offers arriving in the post you may also want to contact the Mailing Preference Service. They offer a free service to help people stop unwanted marketing offers altogether, or to register which offers they do want to get. All reputable marketing companies refer to the Mailing Preference Service database before sending out marketing offers. The contact details are:

      Mailing Preference Service: (MPS), DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London, W1W 8SS

      MPS registration line – 0845 703 4599


      Our complaints procedure can be found here, I hope that this post answers your questions satisfactorily but should you wish to register a complaint let me know and I can help you with this.

      Kind Regards
      CreditExpert Neil

  2. Klara Seebacher

    Hello I was filling in application to receive credit score/report & was asked for my ccv and bank details. Why do you need my bank details if it’s free? Secondly how do I know my details are safe? Surely by providing other details name address etc that’s sufficient?

    1. CreditExpert Joe

      Hi Klara, Experian has a long track record of protecting personal information and I can assure you that our website is fully secure wherever we ask you to submit your personal details. Once we have this information we’ll take great care of it and only use it as you have agreed. We ask for debit or credit card details as part of our security checks, as we have to safeguard the sensitive information on your credit report. I can assure you CreditMatcher is 100% free and will never charge you.

  3. Daniel Giles

    I was going to join to check my credit score when I realised that you wanted my 3 digit security number from the back of my card. Could I ask why this is please? Giving you this information means that money can be taken from my bank account by yourselves.

    Many thanks

    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Daniel, we collect your card details purely as a fraud protection step to validate you are who you say you are but will never charge you for using CreditMatcher. Kind regards Neil.

  4. Hannah

    I must admit I’m feeling very uneasy since applying. Knowing that I have given my card details. The CVV more than anything.

    1. CreditExpert Neil

      Hi Hannah, we have a number of different services but if you have any questions about what you have signed up to we will be happy to help you. Our contact details are available here . Kind regards Neil.


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