What is identity theft?
Before you can protect yourself against identity theft you need to know what it is. In simple terms it is when someone takes information about your identity such as: Name; Date of Birth; Address present or previous with the plan to take on your identity.
What can they do with your identity?
Someone who obtains details of your identity can in fact do a great deal and usually you won’t know about it until you receive bills for things you haven’t ordered or your being chased by debt collectors for purchases you haven’t made.
- They can open bank accounts
- Take out credit cards and loans in your name
- Order items online or on the phone in your name
- Take over your existing accounts
- Open mobile phone accounts
- Obtain real documents including passports and driving licenses
So what can you do to protect yourself?
Always check your credit card and bank statements. To avoid identity theft watch out for payments you haven’t made and check the amounts are correct that have been debited
Keep your letterbox secure
Have a secure letterbox and if it’s a free standing one outside your home. Make sure it’s a locked one.
Always be safe on the internet
Always keep your anti virus and anti-spyware software up to date. When you shop online always check that you are using secure web pages. Look for the padlock symbol in your browser next to the ‘https’ in the address bar.
Never give your personal information, credit card numbers, security numbers or passwords to anyone in an email. Make sure you change your passwords for your different accounts. Try not to use birthdays or names as passwords. Keep your privacy settings private especially on social media sites. It will stop people being able to create a picture of you and committing identity theft.
Beware of scam emails or phone calls. Always be aware of fraudsters. Watch out for those scam emails from people saying they are from banks, credit cards companies, government agencies or charities. Never give your personal details on the phone or in an email and if you are still unsure contact the company direct yourself.
Destroy all your private post/mail
Shred all of your bank or card statements, receipts and other documents that contain your private financial and personal information.
If you think you have been defrauded or your identity has been stolen. Report, it by contacting your banks etc. and call the UK national fraud centre on 0300 123 20 40 or visit Action Fraud
If you are in need of a document destruction solution we offer this service for individuals and businesses. Call us on 01494 774186 or check out our Document Destruction service here and make an online enquiry. We’d be happy to help.