Here are our top tips for protecting yourself from fraud:
Identity fraud is when a fraudster steals enough of your personal information to impersonate you. They then apply for loans, credit cards and services in your name.
Signs your information may have been stolen:
- You get bills for accounts you haven’t opened.
- Debt collectors calling you could be a sign someone has applied for credit in your name.
- Letters going missing in the post could mean that your mail has been re-directed.
- You notice strange errors on your credit report.
- Loan or credit card applications are rejected.
What can you do to prevent identity theft?
✔ Regularly check your credit card and bank statements.
Stay on the lookout for things you didn't do and charges you don’t recognise.
✔ Be careful what you're sharing on social media.
Fraudsters can use any personal data you share on posts.
✔ Keep an eye on your credit score.
Credit reference agencies can help you check if someone has opened a new account or taken out a loan or credit card in your name.
✔ Keep your personal documents safe.
Throwing documents away? Use a shredder. Contact your other creditors and check your accounts. Even if you don't believe they have been affected, creditors can proactively monitor your accounts and reassure you.
✔ Beware of unsolicited calls/ texts /emails.
Don’t give out your personal information to anyone you don’t know or trust, especially if you receive an unexpected call, text message or email.
Your account is taken over
Sometimes, an existing account you hold, such as a retail account, is taken over by someone else for their own personal gain.
How to spot if someone has taken over your account:
- You notice transactions you didn’t make or authorise.
- You receive emails confirming deliveries for orders you haven’t made.
- There are changes to the personal details on your account such as billing or email address.
- You can’t log in to your account or the password reset option isn’t working.
- You receive deliveries of products you didn’t order.
- You get multiple spam e-mails that you can’t track.
What to do to protect yourself from your account being taken over:
✔ Choose a strong, unique password.
Make sure you have strong passwords of at least 8 characters, that include letters, numbers, and symbols. Have unique passwords for different accounts and online platforms. This protects your other online accounts if one is compromised. Use multifactor authentication where possible.
✔ Read statements & notifications.
Take time to open and read your financial statements and communications. If you think a statement is due and you haven’t received it, contact the company.
✔ Avoid using public networks.
Don’t use public unsecured Wi-Fi to log into accounts or websites. Always log on to a website directly, rather than opening links in an email.
✔ Keep your software up to date.
Update to the latest anti-virus protection on your devices. Always use the newest and most updated version of operating systems on your personal computer. Change your settings to receive automatic updates.
✔ Check if your data was a part of a breach.
Check if your email address appears on the data breaches on https://haveibeenpwned.com. If your data has been compromised, you should change the password on all online accounts linking to the email you have provided.