Identity theft and Scams
Your personal data and identity are very valuable assets; both to you and to anyone who may wish to steal them. 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. Identity theft 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 a lot of time and effort to sort out the harm that this could bring to you.
Here are some signs to 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 appropriate steps to try and protect yourself from identity theft and scams.
Top 5 tips
- Ensure that you store any documents that contain your personal information in a safe manner in a secure place.
- Destroy old documents which show your personal data; destroy those 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. In addition, look out for clear privacy and returns policies.
For more information please read this guidance from the ODPA on 8 steps to protect yourself from identity theft and scams · ODPA