Identity protection tips
Identity theft is one the fastest-growing crimes of the 21st century so it pays to take precautions. These tips will help you protect yourself from identity theft.
- Always shred or destroy documents that contain personal information before throwing them away. Financial statements are obvious but even an old catalogue showing your name, address and account number could help a thief steal your identity.
- Read all bank and card statements regularly to check for suspicious transactions.
- Report thefts of cards or important documents — such as a passport or driving licence — to the relevant organisations as soon as possible.
- Never respond to cold phone calls or e-mails asking for account details, PINs, passwords or personal information.
- Don’t give too much away on networking websites. For example, pets’ names or children’s names could be used as passwords.
- Register to vote at your current address. If you don’t, thieves could use your previous address details to open new credit accounts, and run up debts in your name.
- Monitor your post regularly so you know when to expect important documents — and when to act if they don’t arrive.
- Redirect your mail via the Post Office if you move house.
- Never write down or share account details, PINs or passwords.
- The Home Office recommends regular checks on your credit report as an effective protection against identity theft. Because it lists your credit accounts and what you owe, you can spot applications and spending that are nothing to do with you.
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