Identity theft is an unfortunately common crime in the UK, and one which is becoming all the more common with thanks to the ubiquity of the internet. In the first half of 2021, identity fraud cases surged by as much as 11%. But what does identity fraud look like, and how can you combat it? Read these lock user manuals to prevent any theft by using the correct lock system.
Recognising Identity Theft
Many of you may have been unfortunate enough already to fall victim to identity theft – but what does identity theft look like to the victim, and what hallmarks might you notice if your identity has been stolen?
The hallmarks are simple, and in some cases, obvious – but they are also easy to overlook for those not actively checking in with their situation. For one, major documents such as your birth certificate or passport may have been stolen. These can be used by fraudsters to legitimise the opening of credit in your name.
You may also have found that you have stopped receiving correspondence from your bank. Many consumers have ‘gone paperless’ with their banks, but if you haven’t actively done so and you are not receiving bank statements, your letters may be getting intercepted.
Lastly, you may discover the aftermath of identity theft in your bank account or credit score. With the former, you may notice unrecognisable purchases or transfers of money. With the latter, you may find your credit score lower than it should be, or that lenders are unwilling to lend to you despite positive interactions before.
Identity theft does not merely impact private citizen, though. Those in positions of relative authority within a business may find that their identity has been used to access confidential information or private assets – and in some cases, even to embezzle money.
Responding to Identity Theft
Your first act as a private citizen should be to freeze your bank accounts and credit. This way, fraudsters can no longer access your bank accounts or apply for new lines of credit. Next, you should gather any and all evidence of fraud, from bank statements to unusual letters, and contact Action Fraud to report the alleged crimes. After opening a case with the police, you can start to approach your banks and lenders with information of the fraud, to attempt to recoup losses.
Preventing Identity Theft
However, prevention is the best form of defence when it comes to identity theft. Money is not always completely recoverable, and your credit score can remain marred for month upon years after particularly egregious examples of fraud.
Ensure all private documents are kept in a locked, safe place such as a filing cabinet. Ensure any e-correspondence from banks or credit agencies are legitimate, and not phishing attempts. If ever you move home, make sure to redirect all mail to prevent other hands from accessing your information.