Your identity is a valuable commodity - you need it to function in everyday life. You need to prove who you are to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans, mortgages or to claim benefits. However, like most commodities, your identity can be stolen and used in a variety of ways.
Fraudsters can impersonate you and take out various forms of credit using your identity or apply for documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name. All the fraudster needs is a few of your details - a document bearing your name and/or your address makes it even easier.
This phenomenon is commonly known as identity theft (or identity fraud) and is the fastest growing type of fraud in the UK. By managing your personal information carefully, you can substantially reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of identity fraud.
Here are a few tips to show you how:
- Be vigilant: beware of anybody who contacts you unexpectedly and asks for personal information or account details even if they claim to be from your bank or an official organisation.
- Shred all documents before you throw them away: shredding documents is the best way to ensure that criminals cannot build up a profile based on the information you discard in your rubbish.
- Secure your post: fraudsters may try to redirect your mail without your permission. If you use a central or communal postal delivery point make sure your mail is secured until you can collect it.
- If you move house or go away: tell your bank, card issuer and of course all other organisations that you deal with immediately, to avoid your post falling into the wrong hands.
For more information visit: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud_protection/identity_fraud