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What Is Identity Fraud?

Identity fraud is when someone steals your personal information and uses it to apply for credit in your name. The Government has found that 79% of us are careless with personal details, by throwing them away intact or not keeping them secure, therefore leaving ourselves vulnerable to fraud. A third of us throw away everything a fraudster needs to steal someone’s identity, 75% of UK adults have been affected by ID fraud, either directly or through their friends and family, and 80% fear becoming a victim. In light of these facts, it is important to know how to protect yourself and what to do in the event that you do fall victim to an identity thief.

The kind of financial products fraudster’s apply for in other people’s names include:

  • Credit cards
  • Mobile phone contracts
  • Bank accounts, benefits
  • Loans
  • Driver’s licences
  • Passports
  • Benefits

Identity fraud is on the increase. In 2002, the Cabinet Office reported that crime facilitated by identity fraud was costing in excess of £1.3 billion a year, despite efforts by the financial services community and credit industry to detect and prevent it. Organised crime is playing a large part in it as criminals realise the potential financial gains of stealing someone’s identity.

When someone fraudulently applies for products and services in your name, this can affect your viability for getting credit in the future because you might have debts that you are unaware of. It can also stop you getting a job, and can lead to debt collectors contacting you and court actions being brought against you.

Fraudster’s can steal your identity by obtaining documents or information such as:

  • Wallet/purse
  • Mail
  • Passport
  • CV
  • Utility bills
  • Driver’s licence
  • Bank statements and credit card bills

The methods they use to obtain this information include:

  • Theft
  • Email phishing
  • Redirecting your mail
  • Infiltrating data held by organisations
  • Card skimming
  • Corporate identity theft
  • Impersonation of deceased
  • Unsolicited contact by phone, email or in person
  • Online fraud

Things found in bins during research by Waste Works:

  • Credit card application ID numbers
  • National Insurance numbers
  • Photocopy of passports
  • CVs
  • A will
  • Pin number for credit and debit cards
  • Email addresses
  • Car registration documents
  • Photocopies of passports
  • Confirmation of a loan agreement
  • ISA account details
  • Copy of a driving licence
  • Photocopy of a visa
  • Motor insurance documents
  • Car registration documentations
  • Mortgage details
  • Blank credit card cheques
  • Passwords for online accounts
  • Benefits books
  • Utility bills
  • Savings books  

Learn more about how to prevent identity fraud and click on the links to get a free credit report to see if you have been a victim of it without even knowing.

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THINK CAREFULLY BEFORE SECURING OTHER DEBTS AGAINST YOUR HOME. YOUR HOME MAY BE REPOSSESSED IF YOU DO NOT KEEP UP REPAYMENTS ON A MORTGAGE OR ANY OTHER DEBT SECURED ON IT.