Identity theft is when someone collects enough information about you to pretend to be you in order to access your bank account, use your credit card details, open accounts in your name, take out loans in your name, block your access to your own accounts etc.
This is a very destructive form of fraud as it can be very difficult for the victim to prove it wasn’t them taking out the money and to get their identity back, including access to the various accounts.
UK Government statistics show almost 190,000 cases of identity fraud in a 12 month period with CIFAS (the fraud prevention service) recording increases of 8% per year.
The figures also show that levels for older people are rising faster, suggesting they are being targeted for this type of fraud.
Most people do not realise they have been a victim of identity fraud until bills start arriving and demands for repayment for loans they didn’t request.
To avoid becoming such a victim, you need to make sure you keep personal information to yourself – starting with setting social media network privacy levels to high, use strong passwords and never reveal passwords to anyone in emails or by phone.
Always be cautious of emails or websites or text messages offering anything too good to be true.
If you have any experiences with identity theft, do let me know, by email.