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Identity Theft and Identity Fraud

Identity Theft

At CVS Ltd we take our privacy protection and security very seriously so you do not have to worry, your details are safe with us.  If you are a victim of identity fraud this can effect your credit score, so here are some pointers on keeping safe.

Firstly, let’s look at the difference between the two, Identity Theft is when someone steals your personal details and identity fraud is when someone uses your details to commit fraud.
Identity theft and identity fraud

Identity Theft:

Identity theft can happen to people who are alive or dead, the fraudsters just need enough information about someone such as name, date of birth and addresses (current or previous).  The impact of someone stealing your identity can have a direct impact on your financial situation and could make it very difficult to be able to obtain credit until the case is resolved.

Identity Fraud:

Identity fraud is when someone uses your stolen details in a criminal activity to obtain services or goods by deception.
Fraudsters once they have your details can:

  • Obtain
    • Credit cards
    • Loans
    • Benefits
    • Mobile phone contracts
  • Open bank accounts
  • Take over your existing accounts

When someone does any of the above actions with stolen details this is identity fraud.  Unfortunately, you may only realise you have been a victim when you start to receive paperwork from banks, mobile phone companies and invoices for goods and services that you know have nothing to do with you, or you are refused financial services such as loans, leases when you know you have a good credit score.

How to reduce the risk of Identity Theft:

Identity theft and identity fraud
We are all now pretty good at recycling, and it is amazing just how many people will consider putting personal information into the recycling without shredding first.  So my first tip is to always shred or destroy your old documents.  These include any documents which have:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your date of birth
  • Any other key information linked to you personally

Documents which carry our personal details, that are required to be kept, store in a safe place.  These documents include:

  • Passports
  • Drivers Licence
  • Bank Statements
  • Credit card
    • Statements
    • Receipts
  • Utility bills

Moving house is one of the most stressful things to do, but make time to contact any service providers and inform them of your new address and contact Royal Mail for your mail redirects.
Keep an eye on your credit score, by monitoring this you can quickly pick up on any changes.  Also keep a look out on any statements for any unusual transactions or other suspicious activity.

Being safe online:

Most of us now are buying online, and feel very comfortable doing so, in fact I wonder how many of us actually check the simple things before putting all of our personal details in?  Before you pop in your details online check for:

  • The web address starts with https (the s stands for secure)
  • A golden padlock
  • Displayed company details
  • Clear privacy and T & C’s
  • Check reviews

Remember if an offer is too good to be true, it may indicate illegal or pirated items, and an unsafe source.
Avoid using public computers when putting in your personal details, and also remember when using public Wi-Fi that even with a password you cannot always guarantee that the network is secure.

What to do if you believe you are a victim of identity theft:

Act quickly, it is vital that as soon as you think you have become a victim you immediately take action to ensure that you will not be liable for any financial losses.
What you should do:

  • Stolen documents such as passports, drivers licence, credit cards and similar documents need to be reported stolen to the issuers.
  • Any unusual activity on your financial statements need to be reported to the bank, building society or credit card company.
  • Report to the police, who will in turn issue you with a crime reference number.
  • Check your credit file

You can also contact CIFAS they are the UK’s fraud protection service; You pay approximately £20 for 2 years to be on their database.  When you have registered extra checks will be carried out when your details are used to apply for any financial service.  This however will only work if the financial company uses the CIFAS database, and may cause a delay when you yourself are genuinely trying to apply for a financial service.

In summary be careful of your personal data, the less you give away the less chance you will be a victim.
Useful contacts:
CIFAS – 03301000180
Financial Ombudsman Service- 0800 0234567
Royal Mail – 08457740740
Action Fraud – 03001232040

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