FIND OUR CHECKLIST on Identity theft is becoming the easiest way to rob you of your money. Criminal gangs can send out fake emails to thousands of potential victims with the click of a mouse and wait for the information to come rolling in. They then can use those bank details and pass words to go on a shopping spree leaving the unaware to pick up the bills. On this is advice on how to avoid cyber crime.
CHECKLIST Identity Fraud
- The number ONE iamstolen.com rule is know who you are dealing with.
- Easier said than done but as a rule of thumb nobody contacting you and asking for personal and financial information is to be trusted.
- They may be perfectly valid but put yourself in the driving seat and don’t be prompted into giving information away.
- If somebody you don’t know wants that type of information check them out completely:
- Get their NAME, ORGANISATION, TELEPHONE NUMBER, ADDRESS and REASON FOR CALL and ANY REFERENCE NUMBERS.
- Then tell them you will call back at a future date.
- No genuine caller is going to argue with that arrangement.
- Now you have a lot of information on them so you can use that information to cross reference whether they are who they say they are. You may already be dealing with that organization such as utilities or club membership so you already have a starting point to check phone numbers and reference numbers.
- Be aware of Piggy Backing where a caller will pretend to be from a sister organization or rival with a too good to be true offer that requires payments that day. This includes fake lawyers pretending to help if you have been a victim of fraud in the past.
- We at iamstolen.com have seen that for every human activity there is somebody out there trying to create a scam designed to prey on the public’s trust.
BELOW is Advice from ACTIONFRAUD ”Protect Yourself from Fraud’ a service run by the National Fraud Authority – the government agency that helps to co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK . ACTIONFRAUD LINK. Followed more advice from the Metropolitan Police. ’Is someone Using your Identity?’ Metropolitan Police LINK.
ACTIONFRAUD Protect yourself from fraud
Although fraud comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself from the crime.
1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before verifying their credentials.
2. Many frauds start with a phishing email. Remember that banks and financial institutions will not send you an email asking you to click on a link and confirm your bank details. Do not trust such emails, even if they look genuine. You can always call your bank using the phone number on a genuine piece of correspondence, website (typed directly into the address bar) or the phone book to check if you’re not sure.
3. Destroy and preferably shred receipts with your card details on and post with your name and address on. Identity fraudsters don’t need much information in order to be able to clone your identity.
4. Make sure your computer has up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall installed. Ensure your browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring to prevent malware issues and computer crimes.
5. Sign-up to Verified by Visa or MasterCard Secure Code whenever you are given the option while shopping online. This involves you registering a password with your card company and adds an additional layer of security to online transactions with signed-up retailers.
6. If you receive bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven’t bought, or financial institutions you don’t normally deal with contact you about outstanding debts, take action. Your identity may have been stolen.
7. You should regularly get a copy of your credit file and check it for entries you don’t recognise. Callcredit, Equifax and Experian can all provide your credit file. An identity protection service such as ProtectMyID monitors your Experian credit report and alerts you by email or SMS to potential fraudulent activity. If it’s fraud, a dedicated caseworker will help you resolve everything.
8. Be extremely wary of post, phone calls or emails offering you business deals out of the blue. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always question it.
9. If you have been a victim of fraud, be aware of fraud recovery fraud. This is when fraudsters pretend to be a lawyer or a law enforcement officer and tell you they can help you recover the money you’ve already lost.
10. If you need advice about fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to discuss your situation with one of our specialist fraud advisers. To report a fraud, you can either use our online fraud reporting form or make your report by calling 0300 123 2040.
‘is someone using your identity?’
Identity Fraud is often quoted as ‘Britain’s fastest growing crime. It involves the misuse of identity information in order to commit crime.
Victims of Identity Fraud often report a great deal of inconvenience, stress and cost in trying to clear matters up – they may never establish how their details have been obtained.
How is your identity used?
Once a key piece of information, such as card details has been obtained, other information may be gathered from other sources, depending on the intention of the fraudster. Put together, they can obtain sufficient information to impersonate somebody and make a payment using their financial information.
Information that was given for another purpose may be used as a basis for ID Fraud.
Internet sites such as Facebook, other social networking sites and publicly available information such as the Voters register, are used to gather identifying personal information.
The most common types of Identity Fraud involve the use of compromised Credit and Debit card details.
Account Takeover is a growing trend. Information is obtained to take over bank, card and loan accounts in order to make high value purchases and take out loans.
Genuine documents may be obtained such as passports and driving licenses.
Be vigilant in providing and using your personal information. In particular:
- Your address
- If you start to receive post for someone you don’t know at your address find out why.
- Register to vote at your current address. Lenders use the electoral roll to check where you live.
- When registering to vote, tick the box to opt out of the ‘Edited’ register to prevent unsolicited marketing mail. (This does not affect credit checks).
- Sign up with the Mail Preference Service to prevent marketing letters.
- Protect mail left in communal areas of residential properties.
- Re-direct your mail when moving home.
- Regularly check statements and chase up any that are not delivered when expected.
- Shred, using a cross cut (confetti) shredder anything containing personal information.
- Sign up with a Credit Reference agency for alerts.
- Regularly check your credit reports from a Credit Reference Agency.
- Sign up to Mastercard Secure Code or Verified By Visa when you receive your cards, even if you do not intend to use your cards on line – this protects you if your card or details are lost or stolen.
- Beware of unsolicited phone calls, letters and emails pretending to be your bank, or other financial institution and asking you to confirm your personal details, passwords and security numbers.
- Sign up with the Telephone Preference Service to prevent marketing phone calls.
- If using a ‘smart’ phone install anti-virus software on it.
- Keep your computer security programs (anti-virus, anti- spam) up to date.
- Restrict the amount of personal information that you disclose in the web.
- Don’t fall for on line scams, phishing emails, advance fee or other internet related frauds.
- Know how to verify secure web sites if making financial transactions.
- When forwarding emails, delete other people’s email addresses, and if sending an email to several people, ‘blind copy’ their email addresses to guard against email scammers.
- Opt out where you can – companies may send you marketing mail or share your details in mailing lists with other companies.
- Don’t divulge more information than you need to – why do they want so much personal information?
- Think very carefully before giving information to researchers or charity collectors.
- Have a secure place to store confidential documents at home. In a safe, for example.
- Don’t carry what you don’t need in your wallet, purse, or bag, such as passports or credit cards.
If you think that your are a victim of identity fraud – act quickly
- Do not ignore the problem – it might not be you that has ordered some goods or opened an account but the debt falls to your name and address.
- Inform the card issuer or other financial institution concerned as soon as possible.
- Do not destroy the card if it is still in your possession – keep it as evidence.
- Identify fraudulent transactions as soon as possible. Inform the companies involved if possible.
- Inform the Police if you have lost money directly or can identify a suspect. Card companies pass information relating to transactions on compromised cards directly to the Police.
- Obtain a copy of your credit report from a credit reference agency.
- Credit reference agencies offer free advice services to victims of ID Fraud.
Metropolitan Police Link
National Identity Fraud Prevention
- Don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
- Be careful about what information you share on social networking sites, and check your privacy settings.
- Monitor your credit status by getting regular copies of your credit report from a credit reference agency.
- Install anti-virus software and make sure it is kept up to date.
- Regularly change your passwords and protect mobile devices with them.
- Never click on suspicious hyperlinks.
- Look into any mail that does not arrive when you are expecting it.
The National Fraud Authority (NFA) who runs Action Fraud estimates that identity theft costs individuals a total of £1.2 billion each year.
In January 2012 the NFA surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 4,000 UK adults online and found that 9.4 per cent had been an identity fraud victim in the previous 12 months.
Stephen Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, National Fraud Authority said: “Identity Fraud can have serious implications and this week is an opportunity for everyone to consider the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.
“More and more of us now use the internet to carry out transactions and can be vulnerable to fraudsters, but it is easy to make it harder for criminals to steal your identity.
“You should always check financial statements and raise any suspicious transactions, monitor your credit status regularly, investigate any mail that does not arrive when you are expecting it, do not click on links from emails that appear to be from your bank asking for personal details, and install and keep anti virus software up to date.”
The recent launch of the NFA backed The Devil’s In Your Details campaign is raising awareness of the importance of protecting personal information and aims to remind the public to check that who they share their details with is genuine, whether this be on the phone, in person or online
Read more about ‘Don’t let it be You’ – a joint initiative set up by a taskforce of organisations from the public and private sector to raise awareness of the risk of identity fraud.
Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.