Category: identity theft

F-Secure ID Protection

Identity theft is where a criminal gets personal information on someone and pretends to be that person so they can take out credit cards, bank accounts, loan agreements etc. in that person’s name.

Identity thieves generally don’t care about the age of their targets as long as they are over 18 (so they can buy alcohol etc. with the fake identity) but increasingly the over-60s age group are being targeted.

www.f-secure.com/gb-en/home/products/id-protection

F‑Secure ID PROTECTION alerts you if your personal information appears in a data breach and gives you expert advice on how to prevent a data breach from becoming identity theft. The APP also protects your identity by offering a secure password manager.

F-Secure say that with a combination of human intelligence and dark web monitoring, they will be the first to know if your personal information has been exposed in a data breach.

If a data breach occurs and your information is exposed, they provide expert advice for each individual type of personal information.

To register for the service, you have to pay and you give them your email address which is what they monitor. They watch for any data breaches and check if your email address or other details have been exposed.

A data breach is where hackers gain unauthorised access to an organisation’s information which can include their customer’s data i.e. possibly your personal information.

It costs £3.99 per month or £26.90 per year to monitor up to 5 email addresses for data breaches.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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CIFAS Identity Protection Registration

Cifas is a not-for-profit company working to protect businesses, charities, public bodies and individuals from financial crime. They have more than 25 years of experience in fraud prevention and financial crime, working with a range of UK organisations to protect their customers and the public.

https://www.cifas.org.uk

Cifas Protective Registration is a defence against identity fraud. It’s not for everyone – only those who have  good reason to think they’re at risk, for example:

  • people who have recently lost personal documents, or had them stolen
  • customers of organisations that recently lost or leaked sensitive data
  • anyone who has been advised by the police that they’re at risk.

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud happens when a fraudster pretends to be someone else and uses their credit card or account to buy products or services in their name or takes out a loan in that person’s name.

Victims may not even realise that they have been targeted until a bill arrives for something they did not buy or they experience problems with their credit rating. To carry out this kind of fraud successfully, fraudsters usually have access to their victim’s personal information such as name, date of birth, address etc. Fraudsters get hold of this in a variety of ways, including through phishing emails, fake websites, hacking and data loss, as well as using social media to put the pieces of someone’s identity together.

How Can CIFAS Help?

When you request Protective Registration, they place a warning flag against your name and other personal details in the National Fraud Database. This tells the hundreds of organisations that use Cifas data to pay special attention when your details are used to apply for their products or services. Knowing you’re at risk, they’ll carry out extra checks to make sure it’s really you applying, and not a fraudster using your details.

What to do if you’re a victim:

ACT FAST if you think you have been a victim of identity fraud

If you receive any mail that seems suspicious or implies you have an account with the sender when you don’t, do not ignore it. Phone one of the major credit reference agencies to report your concerns.

Get a copy of your credit report as it is one of the first places you can spot if someone is misusing your personal information – before you suffer financial loss. Review every entry on your credit report and if you see an account or even a credit search from a company that you do not recognise, notify the credit reference agency.

Individuals or businesses who have fallen victim to identity fraud should report this to Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.uk.

It pays to be careful with your identity and never give out confidential information unless you are sure of who you are giving it to.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know – go to the About page then Contact Us.

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Identity Theft

Identity theft has always been a problem, as fraudsters take out loans in someone else’s name or use a false name and address when arrested or take out credit cards in the victim’s name.

Nowadays, identity theft is prevalent as it has become much easier in the electronic age. Every day, millions of phishing emails are sent out by scammers trying to get your confidential information so they can defraud you.

The key information they want is of course name, date of birth, logins and passwords and financial information. But whatever the criminal starts with, they may seek further information to make their fraud easier to commit. They may call you claiming to be from the council or the authorities or your bank etc. and use the information they have to convince you of their authenticity and then gain more from you in the guise of confirming your ID etc.

Or they may send you phishing emails – seeking under various guises to get more details from you.

A “phishing” email is one that pretends to be from some trusted organisation and seeks to get you to provide your confidential information e.g. credit card details, banking details, passwords etc.

Once the scammers have your details, they will try to access any accounts you could have.

For example:- to access your Amazon account, the scammer just needs your login and password. To set-up a new bank account in your name the scammer needs proof of ID (passport or drivers licence being the most common) plus proof of address, date of birth etc.

Protect Yourself

Watch out for suspicious emails or phone calls that try to trick you into disclosing personal information, based on already having some information about you.

Check out http://www.fightbackonline.org/index.php/guidance/12-explanations/50-the-mechanics-of-identity-theft for more information.

Stay cautious.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.

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How to Reclaim Your Identity

There are criminals intent on stealing your identity so they can take-over your accounts, open new accounts in your name, take out loans etc. and everything in your name which means you can be prosecuted by any retailers or other organisations if you don’t pay the bills.

If you find your bank account has been emptied or you are locked out of your accounts or strange charges appear on your mobile phone or calls you get from debt collectors about loans you haven’t taken out,  then you may have had your identity stolen.

Recovering your identity after it’s been stolen can be difficult and stressful.  It is important that you take action immediately as that gives the best chance of stopping the criminal and recovering any money stolen.

  1. Contact the police to report the fraud and get a crime number which is needed for any insurance claims.

You can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or make a report on their web site at actionfraud.police.uk. which also offers advice for victims of identity theft.

  1. If you have reason to think that criminals have accessed your credit card account or bank account then contact your supplier immediate.
  2. If you receive a letter from a debt collector or bailiff, this could mean someone has already been borrowing money in your name. You should contact them to explain the situation and not simply ignore the letters or calls.
  3. If you receive a court summons for non-payment of a bill, then contact the company or court straight away to explain what you think has happened. If you don’t take action right away, it could become very difficult to resolve the issue.
  4. Check your credit report. If you have reason to think that criminals have stolen your personal information, you should check your credit report for signs of unusual activity. This will show if criminals have tried to apply for credit in your name. You can get your credit report from one of the ratings agencies e.g. Experian or Equifax for a couple of pounds.
  5. Consider registering on the Cifas Protective Register. This register tells finance providers to be very careful over any changes to your accounts. They will insist on extra security checks to protect you. This can be beneficial for peace of mind but also makes it difficult for you to make any changes.

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Signs Your Identity Has Been Stolen

If criminals get hold of key information about you, they can impersonate you (steal your identity) and empty your accounts, run up bills in your name, take out loans under your name and you will be liable for the debts incurred unless you can prove it wasn’t you.

Here are some of the warning signs that your identity has been compromised:-

  1. You notice unauthorised transactions on your bank statement. Contact the bank immediately to question the transactions.
  2. You are refused credit or your bank card is refused. Once a criminal has got hold of your personal data, they will try to take out more credit cards in your name and run up big bills.
  3. Unexpected change in your credit report. It’s wise to check your credit report occasionally using an agency such as Experian, Equifax or CallCredit. If you find an unexpected change, this could be a warning as it may mean that criminals have taken out credit in your name.
  4. Unexpected call charges appear on your mobile phone bill. This could mean someone has taken over your account.
  5. You receive delivery of high end items such as a laptop computer or expensive mobile phone. This can happen where a criminal has bought something in your name, intending to intercept the delivery. Check with the sender who placed the order.
  6. You get unexpected emails such as confirmation of password change, confirmation of a new account having been setup, password change request, login details for sites you don’t know, registration details using your name that you haven’t applied for.
  7. You are contacted by a debt collector or bailiff looking to recover a debt in your name. Do not ignore this as being simply a mistake.

If you suspect you have been attacked by identity thieves, you need to take action right away.

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How to Recognise a Hacked Email Account

If your normal flood of emails stops abruptly and you know emails you expected have not arrived the maybe someone else has taken over your email account. But, it could easily be that your email provider is having problems and the emails will turn on again.

It’s best to know what the situation is, so do contact your supplier first to check if the problem is at their end.

If your email account has been hacked, then you may see the following signs:-

  • Your mail account is sending spam messages to your contacts
  • Your email provider warns you of suspicious attempts to login to your account
  • Your account details or mail settings have been changed without your knowledge

If you think your account has been hacked – try to change the password. If you can do that, then your email account is probably fine.

Check your Mail settings

Depending on which email service and software you use, the following options may or may not be available to you.

  • mail filters
  • Sending name
  • Email signature
  • Reply-to address
  • Vacation response
  • Default sending address
  • Auto Forwarding of all emails

Hackers may change the settings in your Yahoo Mail account to disrupt your inbox or get copies of your emails. Access your mail settings and make sure none of your info or preferences were changed without your knowledge.

  1. Your password has been changed

Having control over an email account enables the fraudster to read any emails you haven’t deleted and cleared from your email bin. That’s why it’s important you don’t share or store sensitive or personal information on your email server.”

Having a secondary email address or extra verification measures in place helps prevent a hacker from locking you out of your own account.

  1. Unusual inbox activity

Some hackers won’t change your password so you won’t notice that anything’s wrong.

One way to determine if this is the case is to look at your sent mail folder and see if there are messages there that you are confident that you didn’t send. If you find some, then you know a spammer probably has access to your account.

Also watch for password reset emails that you have not instigated. The hacker may have tried to change your password on other sites, using access to your email to perform password resets.

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