Your personal information could be obtained by fraudsters within less than 3 minutes. We explore how you can keep your personal data safe to avoid falling victim to a scam.
Visit Scam awareness series – how safe is your personal data? to find out how easily your personal data can be obtained by fraudsters.
Cifas (which used to stand for the Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance Service) said that more than 80% of identity theft in the first three months of 2015 was attempted or perpetrated online.
Action Fraud advises that identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.
So, how can you keep safe from identity theft to prevent your details being used in a fraud?
Ensure you have appropriate privacy settings across your accounts and conduct ‘data health checks’, checking for any irregularities in your accounts:
- Regularly check your bank/credit card/store card/PayPal/credit reports/statements etc. for any irregular or unexpected activity
- Frequently change your passwords; use a combination of symbols, numbers, letters, lower case and upper case; make them non-personal
- Review your social media accounts and delete any posts giving away inappropriate information
- Do a personal google search
In your day to day life be cautious when disclosing any personal information:
- Don’t answer unsolicited calls or open unexpected or unrecognised emails, text messages or web links
- Ensure that websites are secure before inputting any personal data and install appropriate security software
- It’s not just your identity that can be hijacked, that of people/firms you trust can be too. Consider verifying identity
- Don’t part with any money upfront unless you’re certain of a person or entity’s credibility
Take action, share your experiences, help prevent others falling victim and stop fraudsters in their tracks:
- Report any concerns to Action Fraud
- Report suspect companies to The Insolvency Service, Companies House and/or the Serious Fraud Office
- In the year to April 2016 The Insolvency Service made 1,208 director disqualifications and wound-up 131 companies in the public interest
- Visit our staying updated on company warnings page
- Share your experience – it could help others to speak up or to recognise that they are being targeted and avoid becoming a victim
If you believe you have been a victim of a fraud and would like to understand if we can help, don't delay, please email: AssetTracingRecovery@uk.gt.com