Identity theft occurs when your personal details such as your PPS number, driving licence and banking details are compromised or stolen allowing fraudsters to pose as you.
This allow fraudsters to use your information to obtain credit or to purchase goods or services in your name, take over your bank account or to make applications in your name for new bank accounts, cards or loans.
One of the biggest problems with identity theft is that the crimes committed by the fraudster can often be attributed to you. If this happens, you may have difficulty applying for loans, cards or a mortgage until the matter is sorted out. You should carefully guard any personal information that might allow a thief to impersonate you.
Be very cautious about what information you post on social media. Think of security questions e.g. mothers maiden name, where you work, where you went to school, birthday messages = date of birth….. The fraudster can build up a profile through various social media channels to build a picture of your identity.
- Keep important personal documents such as your passport, birth certificate, payment cards and cheque books in a safe and secure place.
- Limit or restrict how much personal information you share or divulge on social network sites.
- Shred or destroy any documents containing personal information before disposing of them.
- Regularly check your bank and credit card statements. If you find an unfamiliar or unusual card payment or bank transaction, contact your card issuer or bank immediately.
- Report lost and stolen cards or suspected fraudulent use of your account to your bank or financial institution immediately.
- In the event that your passport, driving licence, cards or other personal documents have been lost or stolen, immediately contact the organisation that issued them.
- Never give credit card or online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Never disclose your card PIN or your full online banking password to anyone.
- When confirming security information, your bank will only ever ask for specific characters within your password and not your whole password. If in doubt, ask for proof of identity or undertake your own checks to confirm legitimacy.
- Be aware that your post is valuable information in the wrong hands. If you fail to receive a bank or card statement, a replacement card or PIN number, a utility bill or other financial information, be sure to contact the relevant bank or service to confirm that one was sent out.
- Re-direct your mail when moving house. Contact your bank and all other organisations and provide them with the new address.
- Phishing … a fraudulent email requesting financial, personal or security information which is made to look like it has come from a reputable entity such as a bank, government body, utility company etc.
- Unexpected Windfall / Easy Money … an email designed to trick you into parting with money or sensitive financial or security information under the guise of an unexpected win, inheritance or other windfall or in order to secure a job or work opportunity.