Christmas may be a time of giving, but don't give away your identity to fraudsters, warns CreditExpert.
CreditExpert, the online credit monitoring and identity protection service from Experian – the UK’s largest credit reference agency, says that opportunity is plentiful over the festive period for thieves to steal identities, as we spend, socialise and travel more than usual.
Jim Hodgkins, Managing Director at CreditExpert.co.uk, says: “During the festive season most of us spend and borrow more than normal so it’s especially important to monitor our finances. With just a few personal details, identity fraudsters can steal your identity and wreak havoc on your credit rating, making your Merry Christmas more of a nightmare."
Mr Hodgkins has eight top tips for how to avoid becoming a victim of ID theft:• Hide your PIN when using a cash machine
• Keep sight of your credit card when you’re paying
• Be careful about where you leave your rubbish because there could be all sorts of clues that potential fraudsters could pick up on. Make sure you shred anything sensitive before binning it.
• Don’t ignore it if your usual Christmas cards don’t arrive - communal halls in flats offer the perfect opportunity for people to intercept or redirect your mail. Tell the Post office if you are not getting mail you think you should be receiving.
• Try and avoid sending cheques in the post because they contain your account number and signature, which can be utilised by a fraudster.
• Keep your normal financial routine – just because its Christmas, doesn't mean you should stop checking your statements and accounts.
• Watch your alcohol consumption – The more you have to drink, the less vigilant you become about protecting your personal property.
• Check your credit report. By checking your report, you can see easily if somebody is impersonating you and trying to borrow money in your name.
“It’s vital for people to check their credit report to ensure they have not fallen victim to identity fraud," says Mr Hodgkins. "A bad credit rating can make the difference between being offered a loan or not. An online monitoring service such as CreditExpert is a simple way to keep on top of your credit history – and will alert you to any major changes on your Experian credit report, which is good protection against identity theft.”
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