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.
- 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.
- If you have reason to think that criminals have accessed your credit card account or bank account then contact your supplier immediate.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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