Identity theft and fraud
Identity theft and fraud
The impact on the UK economy from identity crime is estimated to be £2.7 billion per annum and it is believed that identity crime affects 1.8 million people every year.
Identity theft is when somebody steals your name and other personal information. Financial information is also often stolen and transactions and purchases are made in your name. Identity fraud is when that information is used to commit fraud.
Why not start the New Year with a clear conscience and if you know someone using, supplying or creating stolen identities, contact Crimestoppers anonymously today on 0800 555 111 or by using our online Giving Information Form.
Identity theft is not a victimless crime
Identity theft can be an upsetting experience for the victim. It can be months before the fraudster's actions are discovered and it can take several months more to sort out the problems created as a result.
Identity thieves are often linked to organised criminal networks and money fraudulently obtained by them is used to finance larger scams. Identity fraud has also been closely linked with human trafficking, illegal immigration, drug running, terrorism and money-laundering.
Your information can be used to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans, state benefits, order goods in your name, take over existing accounts and/or obtain genuine documents like passports and driving licences.
How to stay safe
Always think before you give away your personal details. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who exactly is asking for my details?
- What details are they asking for?
- Why do they need to know these details?
- Dispose of documents with any personal information on them securely. A shredder is one of the most effective methods. Even envelopes with your name and address on can be useful to an identity thief.
- Be aware of 'shoulder surfing' when you're filling out an application form in a shop, entering your PIN number at an ATM machine and when having phone conversations discussing personal information in a public place.
- Shred all debit and credit card receipts. Many receipts show all or part of a card or account number and may even show your signature.
For more information and help on protecting yourself against identity fraud please visit www.stop-idfraud.co.uk. Or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or by using our Giving Information Form.