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Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals someone else's identity and it only becomes a crime known as identity fraud when they use the personal information to buy, obtain or use something in that persons name. When a fraudster knows key details about you, they can often use that to get the more sensitive personal information that they need to purchase items online, get more services, charge bills to your name and commit identity fraud.

Below are the most common ways identity theft occurs.

  • Having your purse or wallet stolen.
    Your purse or wallet more than likely contains bank and credit cards and valuable identity documents including your driving license and membership cards . When we have our wallet pick pocketed or your purse snatched most of us are worried about cancelling cards but often we do not realise the value of the information contained within your wallet – information that can be used to set up other accounts. If your wallet or purse is stolen you should report it to the police and get advice from companies like CIFAS.
  • Unsolicited Phone Calls.
    Phone calls claiming to be from banks or market research companies asking you to update your personal information or answer a few simple questions should be regarded with caution. Any information given in good faith could actually be used against you. When in doubt, try contacting the company in question to verify that it is not a scam.
  • Bin Raiders.
    Bin raiders go through the rubbish you throw out, looking for any sort of document that contains any personal details and information on you, no mater how small or insignificant you may think it is. Why do they do this? Well bin raiding isn't a crime. Organised criminal gangs will pay bin raiders for each document that contains personal information that they could then use to steal your identity. These documents could include telephone bills, insurance documents, bank statements, old gas and electricity bills, and even personal letters and envelopes they were sent in. The only way to safeguard against bin raiders and identity theft in this way is to invest in a paper shredder. ABT has the largest selection – over 300 makes and models of shredders from 9 different manufacturers. Don’t wait till it is too late, a paper shredder is a wise investment and not an unnecessary luxury. If you don’t have a paper shredder then visit ABT shredders for low prices on over hundreds of different shredders they supply.
  • Card skimming.
    Card skimming occurs when a waiter or shop assistant, for example, gets your information by copying or ‘skimming’ your credit card details when you make a purchase. This information is not often used by that person; instead it is sold on to professional criminal gangs.
  • Online.
    Be wary of any unsecured internet sites asking for personal details that you may not think terribly important – like your mother’s maiden name. This with other bits of valuable information may be all that’s needed to obtain credit in your name. Fraudsters can also steal your identity by sending an email claiming to be from a bank, credit card company or other organisation, with which you might have a relationship, asking for urgent information. This is called phising. Be very wary, no mater how professional or realistic it all looks. Things to look out for are emails that ask you to click on a link to enter your account details on the company’s website to protect against fraud or to avoid your account being deactivated.
  • Mail Forwarding – by completing change-of-address forms to redirect your mail fraudsters can receive a wealth of information about you delivered direct to their doorstep.
  • Corporate identity theft is also common. There are publicly available company records that fraudsters can easily get a hold of. This coupled with other information found in various ways could enable fraudsters to trade off the back of the real company’s good name and obtain goods and services on credit from suppliers. Fraudsters can also obtain signatures from public records and then attempt to attack a company’s bank account by purporting to be the signatory on the account.
  • Impersonating the dead. It is known that some fraudsters use the identities of deceased people to carry out fraudulent activity. This is done by noting the age, date of birth and address of deceased people from announcements relating to the death or the funeral.

These are just some of the ways identity theft can occur.

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Identity Theft

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