To raise awareness of these issues during National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, Detica has outlined a five-step action plan to once and for all help people safeguard against identity fraud.
1. Think before you tell the world your secrets : Cherished or memorable information about your life usually forms the basis of your passwords or PIN numbers, so think twice before freely disclosing details about your personal life, interests and hobbies to a global Internet audience.
2. Remember you cannot shred in cyberspace : Anything published online will exist in cyberspace for a very long time, in some cases forever, so consider this before disclosing any personal information on the Internet.
3. Be your own policeman : The best person for spotting irregularities in transactions or the way a service is used is you rather than the bank or the police, so regularly check your bank statements, bills and credit records.
4. Trust no-one : The Internet is totally anonymous, so adopt a "challenge, don't trust" mentality for websites and emails. Update security settings on social networking sites so that only people you really know can see your details. And in the real world, never let your bank cards go out of your sight and destroy all bank card receipts.
5. Keep your passwords and PINs fresh : Create passwords that are extremely difficult, if not impossible, for others to guess — but easy for you to remember — and change them regularly. Avoid using the same passwords and PINs across websites, bank cards and other accounts.
Detica's CEO, David Porter, concludes: "Taking steps to prevent identity fraud is crucial to fighting this type of crime. However, prevention can only protect us so far. It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep our identities private, so the risk of fraud will always remain. Fraudsters are persistent and constantly adapting and innovating new ways to commit crime, so it is important for consumers to recognise how these people operate and to never let down their guard."