So being careless with your identity means someone might steal your girlfriend or boyfriend?
Maybe not. But identity theft does happen and it CAN happen to you if you’re not savvy with your personal information.
Last year there were 538 million card payments made online totaling £41.2 billion. For students, regular purchases can be varied from music to books, travel to birthdays, club tickets to online grocery shops.
The more we use our cards online, the more it becomes common-place to write out personal details and leave ourselves open to fraud.
2.8 million fraudulent transactions were made on UK-issued cards during 2008, which was an increase of 4% in the previous year and the UK Cards Association reported that within this, £609.9m was stolen in card transactions.
It’s no real surprise that online theft is on the increase. According to the British Crime Survey 08/09, from 2001 to 2008, as the value of online shopping rose by 523%, losses from card-not-present fraud rose by 243%. As a whole this year, fraud is up 5% from last year, though it’s expected that fraud goes mainly unreported.
It’s vital to admit fraud happens and your identity can be stolen quite easily, so BE SMART.
The Identity and Passport Service offered some tips and info on identity theft and fraud, head to www.identitytheft.org.uk for more info!
What is identity theft?
Your identity and personal information are valuable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts, get credit cards or drivers’ licenses – ANYTHING!
So, how to protect yourself?
• Regularly check your personal credit report from a credit reference agency
• If you move: tell your bank/s and Royal Mail has a redirection service
• Collect post daily and don’t leave documents with personal details on view for others to see – lock away.
• Destroy unwanted documents such as bills, receipts, statements, post – shred them.
• Cancel cards or personal documents are lost or stolen, notify the relevant organisation immediately.
• Choose reputable internet cafes that completely erase the disk you were using and reinstall the operating system from scratch for each user. Don’t leave the computer unattended and keep personal information out of view from peeping toms.
• Banks never contact you to ask your PIN or password. Keep passwords and PINs safe and separate from wallets/phones. Use a different, complex passwords.
• Check for the ‘padlock’ symbol at the bottom of your browser and, before going to your online banking, open a new tab that doesn’t direct to a homepage.
If you think you’re a victim:
• Look at your credit report in detail. If something looks dodgy ask the credit reference agency for guidance.
• Report it directly to the financial institution concerned.
• Go to www.identitytheft.org.uk
Test your safety skills and see specific advice about online threats can be found at www.getsafeonline.org