Identity fraud is a growing menace. The consequences of identity fraud can be very serious, from lost time rectifying the situation, adverse credit ratings and financial losses to even more serious crimes committed in your name.
Many of us are worried about identity fraud with 8.8%* of the entire UK population having fallen victim to this. Nevertheless, 25% of us do not follow some of the basic precautions to reduce the risk of it, such as shredding papers with personal information destined for the bin, checking the validity of emails seeking sensitive information, to checking statements for unusual transactions.
Two out of three crimes that adults most commonly think are likely to happen to them during the next 12 months are the fraudulent use of credit or bank details (14%) and identity theft (9%). With these figures in mind, it’s essential that we treat our confidential information like we would any other valuable possessions.
Research shows that the average age of female victims of identity fraud is 46 years old and home owners, renters and professionals living in the suburbs are often at an even greater risk. With over half of all adults worried that someone will use their credit card or bank details to obtain money goods or services, shredding and keeping your papers confidential needs to be a priority.
If you have been a victim of identity fraud, there are steps you can take:
- Put a fraud alert on your credit report
- Get a copy of the credit report as this will detail all of your transactions
- If you do discover transactions on statements or have loans or other financial products taken out in your name, which you did not make, contact the provider immediately
- Report all lost or stolen documents like credit cards and passports to the relevant organisations
- Contact the Royal Mail Customer Enquiry line if you suspect your mail is being stolen or that a mail redirection has been fraudulently set up on your address
8%-. (National Fraud Authority 2013 Annual Fraud Indicator)
Average age is 46 – CIFAS, 2015. Fraudscape: UK Fraud Trends
25% – Action Fraud, 2011