Identity theft is one of the hottest topics in recent years and anyone who has been a victim of identity theft will tell you of the devastating impact it can have on your life. The simple act of having your personal details stolen or taken by someone else, and then having these details used to commit fraud, can ruin a person’s life and cause them a great deal of hardship.
If you believe that your identity has been taken, it is important that you report the matter as soon as possible. If you lose or have your cards stolen, you should be looking to contact your bank as quickly as you possibly can. The sooner you contact your bank, the sooner they will be able to record the loss or theft, and this could minimise the amount of money that you lose. There is no doubt that acting fast improves the chances of criminals being caught and escaping without too much of an impact on your life.
Fraudsters can obtain your Information in many different ways
One of the biggest problems in dealing with identity theft is that fraudsters can obtain your information in a number of different ways. Having your card stolen is the most common way that people think of, but this is just one of the ways that you could be at risk. You’ll find that many fraudsters are willing to root through your rubbish in the hope of finding items like bank statements or credit card statement. They may also be able to obtain the information they need from pre-approved credit offers or even tax information that you hold. There have been reported instances of criminals looking through people’s mail to steal relevant letters, allowing them to obtain the information that they need.
There is also the fact that identity theft can be undertaken online. The internet has helped many fraudsters and scammers obtain the information that they need to carry out identity theft. Whether this is undertaken through phishing emails, through hacking into accounts or taking information from unsecured sites and transactions, there is a need for people to be as safe as possible when they are online.
Some people have also found that their card has been cloned or skimmed when out shopping, so you need to be aware that there are many ways in which you can become a victim of identity theft and fraud.
You may not realise you are an identity Theft Victim for some time
Quote often the first time you realise that you have been a victim of identity fraud is when you receive a bill or an invoice for something that you didn’t order. Many people have also found out that they are victims of identity theft due to receiving letters or demands from debt collectors. This means that you may have been compromised a long time ago but you are only now finding out about the theft that took place.
With identity theft being described as using a stolen identity in order to purchase services or goods by deceptive means, there are many different ways in which a fraudster can carry out identity fraud with your ID. Some of the most common ways that identity fraud is carried out with a person’s details include:
- Opening up a bank account
- Obtaining credit cards
- Obtaining loans
- Obtaining benefits
- Goods being ordered in the victim’s name
- The fraudster taking over the account of the victim
- The fraudster taking out a mobile phone account
- The fraudster obtaining genuine documents such as a driving licence or a passport in the name of the victim
Given that identity theft and fraud can be so devastating, it is important that you take steps to minimise your risk and exposure. Here are some of the ways in which you limit your risk of identity fraud:
- Know that your bank will never ask you for your PIN over phone or email so never provide this information
- Use different passwords for different internet sites
- Ensure your computer has up to date security software and measures in place
- Shred documents and bank statements
Taking these steps will help to minimise the likelihood of being a victim of identity fraud, so make sure that you follow and take these steps.
Andrew Reilly is a freelance writer with a focus on news stories and consumer interest articles. He has been writing professionally for 9 years but has been writing for as long as he can care to remember. When Andrew isn’t sat behind a laptop or researching a story, he will be found watching a gig or a game of football.