Identity fraud is often quoted as ‘Britain’s fastest growing crime’. It involves the misuse of an individual’s personal details in order to commit crime. These personal details are very valuable and they can be misused or sold on to others.
Victims of identity fraud often than not report a great deal of stress and cost in trying to clear matters up after the fraudulent use of their personal information. Many never establish exactly how their details were obtained.
Protecting your Address
- If you start to receive post for someone you don’t know, find out why.
- Re-direct your mail when moving home.
- Sign up to the Mail Preference Service (MPS) to prevent marketing letters.
- Protect mail left in communal areas of residential properties.
Protecting your bank accounts
- Be extremely wary of unsolicited phone calls, letter or emails from your bank or other financial institutions, asking you to confirm your personal details, passwords and security number.
- Regularly check your accounts and chase up any statements and that are not delivered when expected.
- Dispose of anything containing your personal or banking details by using a cross-cut shredder or tearing it up in to small pieces.
- Always sign up to American Express SafeKey, MasterCard SecureCode or Verified by Visaw when you receive your cards, even if you do not intend to use your cards online. This helps to protect you if your card or details are lost or stolen.
- If you think someone is misusing your bank account details then report it to your bank.
Protecting your phone
- Never reply to unsolicited texts, for example, texts referring to accident claims, even to try and get them stopped. Simply delete them.
- Sign up to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to prevent marketing phone calls. (Add TPS weblink)
- If using a ‘smart’ phone install anti-virus software on it.
Protecting your computer
- Keep your computer security programs such as antivirus and firewall, up to date. Also make sure your web browser and operating system are the latest version. If you are unsure about how to do this, contact a computer specialist.
- Be wary of opening links on unsolicited emails you receive. They may contain viruses or other programs that may harm your computer.
- Know how to verify secure websites if making financial transactions. You can do this by looking at thee address line. Normally it will start with http but when you log in to a secure site this will change to https, for example: http//www.mybank.com is web address for mybank, but if you want to go to the transaction page you log in and the address bar may also change colour. A padlock will also appear in either the bottom left or bottom right of your browser bar, not on the website.
- If you have received an email claiming to be from your bank, asking that your contact them, think about whether or not this is genuine. If you are unsure do not click on any links in the email. Open another window in your browser and visit your bank’s website using your normal method.
- Check the online security options your bank provides, some offer free anti-virus and browser security software.