Identity theft is when an individual has had their personal details stolen.
Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit identity fraud.
Identity theft can take place whether the fraud victim is alive or deceased.
If an individual is a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on their personal finances and could also make it difficult for them to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.
Identity fraud is when personal details are used to commit fraud.
Identity fraud happens when the stolen identity is used in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.
Fraudsters can use an individual’s identity details to:
Open bank accounts
Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits
Order goods in your name
Take over your existing accounts
Take out mobile phone contracts
Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.
IMPORTANT: Stealing an individual’s identity details does not necessarily mean identity fraud. But using that identity for any of the above activities does.
Your credit report provides information about your financial credit history; it shows the details of the financial accounts held in your name at the relevant credit reference agency along with your payment history and a record of any searches carried out by companies looking to provide you with credit.
Don’t throw any documentation away which contains your personal details i.e. name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your password, login details or account numbers. (The bank will never ask for a PIN/whole security number or password over the phone.)
If you have concerns about the source of a call, you should ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number to call them back on. Alternatively, you can hang up and call the bank back on the legitimate phone number printed on your bank/building society statements.
Check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned.
Never leave bills lying around for others to look at.
If you are expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, you should call the bank or Credit Card Company.
If you move house, ask Royal Mail to redirect your post for at least a year.
If you feel that you are a victim of Identity Fraud, speak to our Identity Fraud helpline. If you have, CIFAS Registration will be placed for you. This will set up extra security for when credit is being applied for in your name.