Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

May 2009

This months News



Identity Theft - Advice from the police

Identity theft is now proving to be very lucrative for the criminal fraternity.  A quick look at the facts and figures about ID fraud clearly shows that we all need to be more careful with our personal information.

Below are some of the ways that your identity can be compromised.

Personal Information Online: Anybody that uses the internet will regularly be asked to share personal information to gain access to websites and buy goods.  Increasingly, people are also placing large amounts of personal information about themselves on social networking sites such as Myspace, Bebo and Facebook.

If you use the internet make sure you have the latest security patches and up-to-date anti-virus software installed.  Getsafeonline.org offer advice on keeping your details private on social networks.

Bin raiding: Fraudsters pay people to go through the rubbish you throw out, looking for bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, and tax information.  Everyday information that you may not think is important such as old gas, electricity and telephone bills, insurance documents, bank statements and even personal letters and envelopes they were sent in, carry valuable personal information that can be gathered together to steal an identity.  Invest in a powerful shredder and make it a standard practice, whether at home or at work, to shred all documents containing personal or financial information before binning or recycling them.

Mail Forwarding: By not asking Royal Mail to redirect your mail when moving house, fraudsters can receive a wealth of information about you delivered direct to their doorstep.  Visit www.royalmail.com for more information.

Unsolicited Contact: Phone calls claiming to be from banks asking you to update your personal information should be regarded with caution.  Calling the switchboard of the company in question and asking to be put through to the person who called you will help ensure you are not playing into the hands of fraudsters.  Similarly, fraudsters posing as market researchers may ask for personal information over the phone.  Credible organisations will not mind you double checking their authenticity before providing such information.

Phishing: This term describes identity theft via email.  Fraudsters will send 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.  Typically the email will 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.  But if you click on the link in the email you will be taken to a website which looks genuine but has in fact been created by fraudsters to trick you into revealing your private information.  The fraudsters then use the information provided to set about obtaining money from your accounts.

Theft Of Wallet Or Purse: the average purse or wallet contains bank cards, credit cards and valuable identity documents including driving licenses and membership cards.  Victims realise very quickly that their wallet has been stolen but often do not realise the value of the information contained within it until it is too late.

Minimise the information and the number of cards you carry in your wallet.  If you lose a card, contact the fraud division of the relevant credit card company.  If you apply for a new credit card and it doesn't arrive in a reasonable time, contact the issuer.

Card skimming: This usually occurs when a shop assistant or waiter, for example, gets your information by ‘skimming’ or copying your credit card information when you make a purchase.  They often then sell the information to professional criminal gangs.  Like phishing, skimming can be used on its own to collect enough information on your credit card to use your card fraudulently without stealing your entire identity.

Watch cashiers when you give them your card for a purchase and make sure you can see your credit card at all times.  When you receive a new card, sign it in permanent ink and activate it immediately.

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Last modified: April 29, 2009