Keep your identity safe this christmas
Identity thieves love Christmas too, and with many of us travelling abroad or visiting family and friends, it’s the perfect time for them to steal your identity. Even airline boarding pass stubs can, in some cases, contain enough information for identity fraudsters to steal your identity.
The warning comes as recent research, commissioned by Fellowes, reveals that more people than ever are putting themselves at risk of becoming a victim, despite awareness campaigns warning them of the dangers.
Once in possession of information as basic as a phone number, an address or a bank account number, fraudsters can use the information to apply for credit, buy items online, even go on a holiday – staying at the best hotels in your name!
At Christmas we make lots of purchases and each time we do, it’s another opportunity for identity fraudsters to steal vital information. But to fight back, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your identity this Christmas. Fellowes recommend the following:
* Keep your personal and confidential documents secure, including travel documents.
* Always shred, using a confetti cut shredder, before disposing of documentation – bank and credit card statements, utility bills, receipts, direct mail containing any personal information.
* Especially important this Christmas – shred your junk mail when you return home.
* Check your bank and credit card accounts for unusual transactions
* Obtain a copy of your credit report from, in the new year, from credit reference agencies Callcredit, Equifax or Experian, and monitor it for discrepancies
* Don’t give out any personal information to unidentified individuals or organisations who contact you by phone, email or face-to-face
* If you have been a victim of identity fraud contact your nearest police station or visit www.met.police.uk/fraudalert/
* If you think you have been a victim of identity fraud you should consider subscribing to the CIFAS Protective Registration service. A notice will be placed on your credit file indicating that documents have been stolen and that you may therefore be at risk of identity fraud. To register by telephone call 0870 010 2091
* If you have information about identity fraud, contact the police or call Crimestoppers to give information anonymously on 0800 555 111
Tyron Hill, Identity Fraud Expert, Fellowes explains: “Everyone hates receiving their credit card bills, especially at Christmas, but many people throw out these and other important documents containing important information at Christmas as they make room for the family and the Christmas feast, it’s crucial to remember just how vulnerable we all are at this time of year – shred all documents and follow the simple steps and keep your identity safe this year.”