Identity Theft

 

Identity Theft

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK. At a growing rate of 500% per year, it can happen to anyone.

It is often only discovered later down the line when the damage is done and it can take months to resolve. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to protect yourself.

If you can't find what you're looking for, or want to have a chat face to face, just get in touch. Debbie, your Money Management Adviser is here and happy to help!

Stolen Identity

Thieves can find out your personal information in a number of ways:

  • Stealing your wallet or purse
  • Searching through your rubbish for letters
  • Diverting your mail by completing a ‘change of address’ form
  • Stealing important documents from your letter box
  • From unsecured websites that you have used
  • Buying personal information from an inside source at a legitimate business. For example, a shop assistant who ‘skims’ your credit card when you make a purchase (transferring your information to a blank credit card using a small device that copies the information on your cards magnetic strip)
  • Conning you into providing personal information over the phone or by email
  • Using hidden devices to monitor your ATM transactions or standing close behind you in the queue to watch your transaction

Protect Yourself

You can help protect your identity and prevent criminals from committing fraud in your name by:

  • Regularly ordering copies of your credit report which will alert you to any unauthorised activity. It will cost £2 to order a copy through one of the three main reference agencies - Call Credit, Equifax or Experian
  • Avoiding using obvious passwords like telephone numbers and birth dates. Don’t use the same password for more than one account and be careful when writing your passwords down or storing them on your computer
  • Keeping your personal information secure. If you share accommodation, keep personal documents safe, preferably in a lockable drawer or cabinet
  • Being wary of people acting suspiciously at ATM’s and avoiding using ones that look like they have been tampered with
  • Checking statements immediately and contacting the company concerned if any unfamiliar transactions are listed
  • Destroying bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or unwanted post in your name. Use a shredder
  • Avoiding giving personal information out over the phone, by mail or the internet. Always ask why your information is needed and don’t be afraid to say no
  • If you move house, tell all relevant organisations and ask Royal Mail to redirect any mail to your new address for at least a year

Take Action

What to do if you become a victim of identity theft:

  • Act as quickly as possible
  • Report it to the police and get a crime number or incident-reference number
  • Immediately report any lost or stolen credit cards, debit cards or documents to the relevant organisations
  • If you suspect your post has been stolen or fraudulently redirected, contact Royal Mail
  • Consider a CIFAS Protective Registration. For a small fee, a warning will alert most lenders to the fraud, meaning they will take extra care when dealing with applications in your name
  • Get a copy of your credit report from the three credit reference agencies and check for credit applications and accounts you don’t know about. Experian also provides a Victim of Fraud service
  • If your details are being used at another address, contact the Mailing Preference Service and arrange to remove your name from any mailing lists for free

Helpful Links

Support Organisations

Get Safe Online
getsafeonline.org


Identity Theft
identity-theft.org.uk


Mailing Preference Service
www.mpsonline.org.uk

Credit Reference Agencies

Experian
0870 241 6212
experian.co.uk

Equifax
08705 143700
equifax.co.uk

Call Credit
0870 060 1414
callcredit.co.uk

ADVICE SU


Debbie Forsey
Money Management Adviser

phone icon 028 9097 1166
email icon studentadvice@qub.ac.uk
address icon Second Floor
Students' Union
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Email to book an appointment or pop in during our Drop-In sessions:

Mon: 2pm - 4.30pm
Wed: 2pm - 4.30pm
Fri: 9.30am - 12.00pm


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