Identity fraud occurs when criminals use this information in a fraudulent manner to obtain credit, goods or other services in that person’s or company’s name.
The big problem with this type of crime is that almost all of the victims of identity theft do not realise their identity has been stolen until it is too late, and they become the victim of identity fraud.
According to a cabinet office study the last official estimate of identity fraud put the cost at £1.7 billion, and according to a WHICH report identity theft affects 25% of the UK’s population.
There are two types of identity fraud.
"Account takeover" occurs when a thief acquires your existing credit account information and purchases products and services using either the actual credit card or simply the account number and expiration date.
"Application fraud occurs when a thief uses your stolen information to open new accounts in your name. If you are a victim you are not likely to learn of application fraud for some time, because the monthly account statements will usually be mailed to an address used by the fraudster. In contrast, victims learn of account takeover when they receive their monthly account statement.
Always be on the lookout for identity theft! Here are some useful tips to help you spot identity fraud as soon as it happens. If some of the following things are happening to you then you may be a victim.
Unusual transactions appear on your credit card or bank statements.
You are unexpectedly refused credit cards or store cards.
Companies contact you about new accounts or services about which you have no knowledge.
Card statements or bills arrive late or not at all.
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