Millions of people in the UK are failing to take basic steps such as redirecting their mail deliveries, or updating their computer software to protect their identities from criminals, a new survey shows.
One in four UK adults – 12.275 million people – is believed to have fallen victim to identity crime losing on average £1200 each, with total losses to the UK adult population estimated to be £3.3 billion.
Simon Dukes, Chief Executive of Cifas said: “Every day across the UK, people are leaving themselves vulnerable to fraud by failing to take simple steps to protect their identities. The good news is that there is so much more we could all do to make a fraudster’s job more difficult. We know that people lead increasingly demanding and busy lives, with many people reporting password fatigue or struggling to find the time to update their software securely and regularly. We need to change the way we think about our identities and prioritise protecting them.
Some simple steps to protect your identity
- Personal Information
Only give your personal information to a caller or online if you are sure of who you’re dealing with and why they need the information.
Don’t throw documents with your personal details on into the bin – shred them.
Make sure your passwords cannot be guessed. Include capital letters, numbers and punctuation marks in the password.
Use multiple passwords. Have more than one password for online accounts so that if it’s cracked – thieves will not be able to gain access to all of your accounts.
3. Social Media
Exclude important personal information from your social media profiles
Details like your phone number, address, children’s age or school can all present ways for hackers to glean more knowledge. On Facebook, that means culling any ‘friends’ you don’t know, minimising the details in your ‘About Me’ section and being selective about hitting the ‘like’ button, all of which will make you harder to find – particularly when Facebook’s new search tool, Graph Search, is rolled out in the UK.
Check your social media privacy settings
Change all Facebook settings to “Friends Only” for all posts for a more secure profile. Facebook often makes changes to these settings and, when it does so, can even reset your secure settings.
Check your phone’s privacy settings. Turning your GPS location settings to “off” can keep your family’s whereabouts private.
Watch out for ‘phishing’ emails
Spam email is getting more and more sophisticated. Never respond to any emails with account info or passwords. Banks will never ever ask for your information in this way. If in doubt, call the bank directly to check or, better still, delete the email.
6. Secure Payment
Check for the https://
Before entering payment details into any website, check the web address has an ‘s’ ( which stands for secure) after the http. If it doesn’t, don’t use it
Keep your communications networks secure. Password protect your Wi-Fi so hackers in the local area can’t use your connection to carry out malicious activity.9.
8. Bank Statements and Credit Card Statements
Keep a close eye on your bank statements and if possible cross check each item on the statement
Also check your credit card bills in case small payments exist that you didn’t authorise