Identity theft and Scams
Your personal data and identity is a very valuable asset, both to you and anyone who may wish to steal it. If you become a victim of identity theft, you could lose money, or you could find it difficult to get a credit card, a loan or a mortgage. This could also have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. If someone steals your personal data such as your name, address and date of birth, they may be able to open bank accounts, apply for benefits or take out credit cards in your name. It may take you much time and effort to sort out the harm that this could do.
The signs you can look out for:
- Have you lost, or had stolen, important documents such as your driving licence or your passport?
- Have you been expecting mail from your electricity, gas or other utility provider or your bank that has not arrived?
- Have you been refused financial services such as a loan or a credit card despite having a good credit rating?
- Have you discovered suspicious transactions on your credit card or bank statement?
It is important that you take the necessary steps to try and protect yourself from identity theft and scams.
Top 5 tips
- Ensure that you safely store any documents that contain your personal information in a secure place.
- Destroy old documents which show your personal data that you no longer use.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly, and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately.
- Use strong passwords, and change your passwords on a regular basis.
- Think before you buy online – use secure websites which display the companies’ contact details, and look for a golden padlock symbol. Also look out for a clear privacy and returns policy.
For more information please read this guidance from the ODPA on 8 Steps to protect yourself from identity theft and scams.