I fell for an email scam – is my identity now at risk?

Dear James,

A possible e-mail scam artist managed to get my name, date or birth, birthplace and the town I currently live in but not the address. Do I still have reason to be cautious and what can I do about it to make sure I protect myself from this information being used against me? Thank you.

Scott, Maidstone

Dear Scott,

While the email may well have been harmless, fraudsters are increasingly focusing on website and email scams to harvest their victims’ identities, so I’m glad you took the trouble to get in touch. The personal information you gave away would be very useful to a fraudster and you’d be surprised how easy it is to fill in the gaps and piece together enough information to submit a very convincing credit application. While the credit industry spends millions of pounds preventing fraud each year, meaning that most dodgy applications are detected, the ones that slip through the net can create a major headache for the people involved. Rather worryingly, our recent victims of fraud survey shows that fraudsters are beginning to turn their attentions away from the wealthy and are instead targeting a larger number of low value frauds, often using the identities of young families, single parents and the elderly. So it’s safe to say that none of us can rest on our laurels. If you haven’t done so already, get hold of a copy of your Experian credit report and check it carefully for signs of fraud. You can get a free report when you try our CreditExpert service. If you do spot anything unusual or unfamiliar, get in touch straight away and we’ll look into it for you and give you appropriate advice on any security measures you should consider. If there’s no sign of fraud but you are still worried that your details might be used in the near future, consider arranging a Protective Registration through CIFAS, which puts a warning flag on your credit reports with all three credit-reference agencies. (December 2014)


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