Identity Theft

ID Theft imageIdentity Theft - a Load of Rubbish?
It can be!

Sifting through your household waste to obtain a bank / credit card statement or other personal information is one common method used by criminals to get hold of your details.

Other methods include making contact with you by post, phone or e-mail and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation.   This information may then be used to support criminal activity, which could involve fraud, deception, or obtaining benefits and services in your name. If you become a victim of identity theft, it could be hard for you to obtain financial services in the future.

The following tips will help you protect your identity and prevent criminals from committing fraud in your name:

At home

  • Always check bank statements, and check receipts against your statements carefully. If you find an unfamiliar transaction, contact your card issuer or bank immediately.

  • Dispose of financial statements, card receipts and other personal documents with care. Rip up or preferably shred any such documents before binning them. (Mini paper shredders can be obtained for less than £5 from most stationers). As a general rule, shred anything with your name and address on it, even junk mail.

  • Be aware that your post is valuable information in the wrong hands. If you fail to receive a bank statement, card statement, utility bill or other financial information contact the supplier. If you receive a credit card application and you don’t use it rip it up or shred it before binning it.

  • NEVER give any personal information over the phone or to a caller at your door unless the caller is known to you, and they have a legitimate reason for wanting to know. This includes PINs, and the security code on the back of your cards (on the signature strip).

  • Keep all important documents (passport, birth certificate etc) in a safe and secure place.

Out and About

  • Don’t write your PIN or passwords down.

  • Always check an ATM for any suspicious attachments before use. If in doubt, don’t use it, but report it to the branch and police immediately. Do NOT attempt to remove any device - watching criminals would be unlikely to let their investment go without a fight.

  • Never let your card out of your sight when making a purchase. Ensure no-one else can see or hear any personal information when making a transaction.

Online

  • Don’t use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Using different passwords increases security and makes it less likely that someone could access any other accounts.

  • Keep your passwords safe and never record or store them in a manner which leaves them open to theft, such as in your purse or wallet.

  • If you receive a suspicious e-mail purporting to be from a bona fide institution, which requests personal details, ignore it.

  • Make sure your computer is properly protected against unauthorised access by ensuring your operating system, anti-virus and firewall are fully up to date.

Your personal details are valuable - look after them like you would any other prized possession