New figures suggest that the number of people falling victim to identity theft in the UK has risen by almost a third.
In a report from the BBC, criminals are using internet forums to buy and sell stolen data and then use this information to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards and commit fraud in other people’s names. Criminals are heading online to swap tips as well as to buy and sell credit cards, passports and email addresses. Real credit cards with date of birth details can sell on these forums for as little as £5.
Fraud prevention agency Cifas (Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System), have stated that the number of victims rose by 31% to 32,058 in the first three months of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.
Cifas said that more than 80% of identity theft in the first three months of 2015 was either attempted or perpetrated online. And their research showed that criminals mainly used people’s identities to set up new credit cards which accounted for 41% of identity theft cases and opening bank accounts which accounted for 27%.
It is estimated that more than a quarter of adults are thought to have been a victim at some point. And in many cases victims may still be liable and have to pay for bills, even though it has had nothing to do with them in the first place. So what can you do to prevent this happening to you?
Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
- Update your computer’s firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware programs. Up to 80% of cyber threats can be removed by keeping these updated.
- Limit the amount of personal information you give away on social networking sites. Your real friends know where you live and know your birthday.
- Never share passwords or PINs (personal identification numbers) with anyone and do not write them down.
- Use strong passwords and PINs. Don’t use your date of birth or your child’s name, include a mix of UPPER and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation marks. Aim for a minimum of 10 characters in a password.
- Do not use the same password or PIN for more than one account
Shred all your financial documents before you throw them away
In addition to this advice, obtaining your credit report from Go Credit Report UK and monitoring it on a regular basis can help stop fraud. You will then be able to quickly spot if someone opens a false account or obtains a credit card in your name.
Get your FREE Credit Report for life at gocreditreport.co.uk and help STOP fraud…. on YOU