How to protect yourself against ID fraud

Your personal details are very attractive to criminals. Stealing your identity, your personal information, is something law-breakers have been doing for years to try and get their hands on your money or to get something in your name. It means that when it comes to your name, address, date of birth, phone number, bank details and so on, you need to be taking all precautions to keep them safe – so they don’t fall into the wrong hands. Here are some things you should be thinking about when it comes to protecting yourself against ID fraud.

What can ID thieves do?

If criminals build up a jigsaw of your personal information, they could try and use it to open up accounts, apply for finance – loans or credit cards – or to get their hands on welfare payments. They could also try and apply for other documents or identification papers in your name.

Traditionally, this information could come from documents such as bank statements, or maybe your purse, but now criminals are also using the internet to trawl for our personal information.

You should think about investing in pre paid legal services – an insurance plan that can help you out if the worst was to happen, and you become a victim.

Staying safe online

Most people are surfing the net every day, be it through their smartphone or laptop, on a home wifi connection, or a public one. But how often do you think about safety and protection when you’re hunting around websites or logging into your email or online bank accounts? Not enough maybe.

One of the main things you should be doing when you’re on the net is ensuring that you’re using strong passwords. Often websites will prompt you to do this when you set up an account for the first time. You need to be avoiding passwords such as ‘password’ and obvious words relating to your personal details, like your name or date of birth. Experts encourage you to use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.

You also need to check the website that you’re on is the actual one you wanted to land on. Check the address bar, and check that the link is secure.

When receiving emails, you need to be careful about which you open and which you reply to. They may be a scam or virus-infected. Demands for payments and other personal information can all be a con. You also shouldn’t be putting personal information online, or in social media, as they can help those who want to steal your identity to do so.

Check your statements

You should keep a close eye on your bank and credit card statements, to ensure that there’s nothing amiss with your payments. If you see something that appears to be fraud, you need to report it to your bank or lender immediately.

With other personal documents, you should keep any printed bank statements in a secure place or shred them if disposing of them – they contain details the criminals would love to see.

 

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