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10 Tips to Prevent Identity Fraud

According to a press release from Smile (opens in new tab), the Internet bank, 16 October marks the beginning of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.

I’m sure someone somewhere is making up all these weeks but the press release also came with their top ten tips to prevent ID theft and in case you don’t already have these in your employee manuals and training courses, then here they are again.

These tips are good basic advice but also require some user training for example how do users think up strong memorable passwords? If users are not allowed to write their passwords down, then what advice can you give to users who have multiple accounts and hence multiple passwords? How do you store and remember where you placed personal documents if you don’t put them all in the same location.

1.Your credit and store cards

Always keep your cards in your possession and never let them out of your sight. Never let anyone know your Personal Identification Number (PIN). When using a cash machine or using your card in a shop beware of anyone trying to watch you enter your PIN.

2.Check your bank and credit card statements.

If you notice anything strange on your statements or if you think someone may have accessed your accounts, contact your bank immediately.

3.Your credit file

Check your credit file for accuracy. Look for unauthorised activity, such as new accounts you didn't open, credit searches by companies you haven't dealt with or address links to addresses you don't recognise. You can arrange to receive your credit file regularly to monitor credit applications made in your name.

4.Protect your identity

Invest in a shredder to destroy any receipts, bills, bank statements and even junk mail that you wouldn’t want other people getting their hands on.

5.Documents

Keep all important documents, such as your passport, driving licence, birth/marriage certificate, in a safe place (but not all together if possible). These are just as valuable to a criminal as electrical equipment or jewellery because they can easily be sold to an identity fraudster.

6.Your login details

Be aware of others close by who may try to take note of your account information. Don’t choose or change your security details in a public place.

7.Your security information

Avoid passwords that others can guess. Don’t tell anyone your security details and never ever write them down. Change your security information immediately if you suspect anyone else may have gained access to it.

8.Unknown callers

Telephone canvassers - why are they calling you? Never give information to an unknown caller who can't prove their identity, even if they do claim to be from your bank. Politely offer to call them back if you have any suspicions.

9.Moving home

If you move home, inform all the relevant organisations of your change in address. Consider using a Royal Mail Re-direct for at least a year to make sure all post is forwarded to your new address. Contact your local authority and enrol on the Electoral Register (also known as the Voters Roll) for your new address as soon as you can. Don't tempt those moving into your old address - a replacement storecard or a mail order catalogue arriving at your old address is a gift to a fraudster.

10.Your transactions

Be sure you are dealing with a genuine and legitimate company before giving them any account details, particularly if they have approached you.

A person’s ID can be worth thousands to a thief and without the right precautions, they can be easy to steal. As the crime is hidden, it may take months for a person to realise that there is a problem. They may only find out about it when their application for a mortgage or a credit card is refused. In some cases, it can be as extreme as a bailiff turning up at the door! Additional information can be found in the top tips for Spam prevention blog I wrote a while back.

Happy National Security Week.

Ben