Identity theft means that once criminals have enough of your personal details, they can apply for credit in your name and run up debts without you knowing.
Identity theft can include:
- Fraudsters gaining access to your full name, date of birth, current address and national insurance number, and the passwords and PINs to your bank accounts .
- Fraudsters setting up fake websites to get you to type in your digital banking password, which then gives them access to your accounts.
- ‘Phishing’ emails pretending to be from your bank can also lead to your details being stolen.
- Social networking sites such as Facebook accessed by fraudsters who ‘mine’ your postings for information
- Criminals can also use the telephone – calling you at home or on your mobile, pretending to be a bank or a credit card firm and asking you to confirm your account details.
Seven tips for heading off the fraudsters:
- Use strong passwords when banking online, with more than 8 characters (ideally 10-12), and avoid using words from the dictionary. Use two-factor authentication where possible and log out when finished.
- Shred paper financial documentation after use as it is likely to contain data like your full name, address and much more.
- When using your debit or credit card online, ensure the site is encrypted (indicated by a padlock symbol) and that the site you are paying is legitimate.
- If you receive an email you’re suspicious of, contact the relevant organisation and don’t give out personal details. Your bank, credit card provider and any reputable business will never ask for confirmation of details by email.
- Memorise PIN & password details rather than noting them down and never give account details to anyone else. Use different passwords for different accounts (social and financial ones too) and try to avoid names that can easily be guessed – for extra security, mix upper and lower cases and numbers.
- Keep an eye on your post – if you’re expecting something and it goes missing, or if you receive notifications about credit accounts you have no recollection of opening. If you move house, ensuring post is re-directed to your new home is a good idea.
- If you think that your identity may have been compromised, checking your Experian Credit Report to see whether there has been any suspicious or irregular activity could help you take the first step to dealing with it.
Been a Victim Of Fraud?
The number of victims of fraud has increased by 63% over the last 5 years, based on cases dealt with by the Experian Victims of Fraud team. In fact, 7% people of UK adults say their personal details have been used to commit fraud.*
If you think you’ve a victim of identity theft, notify the police, contact your bank and check your credit report. Experian’s Victims of Fraud service, part of Experian CreditExpert membership, is also available free to fraud victims, and has a dedicated team to give expert advice and support tailored to particular circumstances.
*based on a survey of 2008 people completed by ComRes on behalf of Experian between 15th and 17th January 2016. Data weighted to be representative of all adults in Great Britain aged18+’