Did You Know It’s National Identity Fraud Prevention Week?

In the eggcitement of finding out that this week is National Egg Week, you can be forgiven for overlooking the fact that it also happens to be “National Identity Fraud Prevention Week” from today.

The purpose of the week is to raise the profile of the problem of identity fraud:

National Identity Fraud Prevention Week is a nationwide awareness campaign designed to help you protect yourself and your business from identity fraud, one of the UK’s fastest growing crimes.

With 80% of fearing having our identities stolen, identity fraud is becoming a growing problem – but if you’re unsure quite what identitiy fraud is, the following information should help you out.

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud occurs when somebody’s personal information is used by someone else without their knowledge to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently.

According to figures published to promote the week, 1 in 4 of us in the UK has been affected by identity fraud or knows somebody who has.

How Does Identity Fraud Occur?

There are several ways in which criminals can get their hands on your personal information:

  • Online – when you enter personal details into websites where anyone can look at it, such as Facebook and MySpace, it’s possible for criminals to piece this information together to build up a profile.
  • Mail – if you move house and forget to redirect your mail to your new address, your post can provide very interesting reading for the new occupants.
  • Phishing – if you’re sent emails that appear to come from your bank and get you to click on links to login to their site there’s a chance they could be trying to get you to enter your details in a false website. Hey presto, they’ve got your login details for themselves.
  • Wallet / Purse Stolen – even though the hassle of this happening is enough trouble, once you’ve cancelled all of your cards, there is still plenty the thief can do with the information they’ve gained.
  • Unsolicited Contact – unexpected phone calls supposedly from your bank might try to get you to reveal key account information.
  • Bin raiding – this real low end of the identity fraud operation might be a dirty job, but it can really pay dividends for the fraudsters, as 79% of us throw away rubbish that includes useful personal information.
  • Card skimming – this one’s been around for a while – try to keep an eye on your plastic at all times.

This is just a basic list of ways identity fraud can occur – visit the National Identity Fraud week website for more information.

Perhaps one of the most interesting stats highlighted is that according to credit check company Experian, it takes an average of 467 days to discover that you’re a victim of identity theft. So almost a year and a half after it happens, you should know about it! This shows just how difficult it can be to pick up, and also how difficult it can be to do anything about it – by the time you find out, the criminal has probably done all they can with your identity, and moved onto their next victim.

Later this week we’ll look at ways of preventing identity fraud

2 thoughts on “Did You Know It’s National Identity Fraud Prevention Week?

  1. Thanks for this article. It’s a useful reminder of the steps we need to take to ensure our personal information is protected.

    This is an especially important point to remember when you are moving.

    I work at iammoving.com. We are a website that enables movers to provide their new address to the companies and organizations they nominate.

    At a time when you are really busy worrying about moving boxes, removal trucks and contracts, don’t forget to take this easy step to ensure your identity doesn’t land in the wrong hands!

  2. The tip about changing your address when you move home is a very good one. When i moved home i used moveme.com, which is a great site that gives you pre made change of address letters for every company/membership you can possibly think of (it also gives you a royal mail redirection form too, for any stray mail) so with any luck it could help stop this type of thing happening to home movers!

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