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Identity fraud and identity theft

Identity fraud and identity theft

When the scammers get access to adequate information related to someone, like their date of birth, name, current and previous address, and other details, they try to misuse the details to commit identity theft.  It can happen in either condition if the person is deceased or alive.  Such crimes can have a long term impact on the individual's finances, and it could make it difficult for the victim to obtain loans, mortgages or credits until the matter is resolved. 

How Does It Happen?

  • The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

  • If you no longer get the bills to your address or are turned down for a loan or credit card, or if the authorised organisation refuses your tax return, you get a rejection note from the IRS due to a duplicate return file. Or, if the creditors send an alert about some suspicious activity, then you are at risk.

The scammers use the victim's details for any of the following purposes – 

  • Opening a bank account, getting credit cards or loans, claiming state benefits, and ordering products in another person's name. 

  • They can take over the existing account or get mobile phone contracts or obtain genuine documents like passports or driving licences using their name. 

  • Once a person steals the identity, they can use it for any crimes, or the victim gets bills to pay for the item they did not order, letters from debt collectors, or messages to pay back loans.  In addition, one can use it to hide the original perpetrator.

How To Protect Yourself?

  • You should never provide your name, address and financial details to people without knowing their intentions.  Always use password-protected devices and use a password manager to handle all the keys. 

  • Get alert if you get emails or phone calls from accredited firms or societies asking for security details like full passwords, login information or account numbers.  They never call their customers to ask about it.  Also, one should never provide security codes or PINs to unknown someone.

  • If you get an unsolicited call from someone pretending to be authorised or from the legal department, wait five minutes and call back on reliable numbers to know about it.  Check the financial records/statements carefully to prevent suspicious transactions. 

  • Sometimes the scammer uses the information to set up a fake account in their name to use for criminal activities.  Call the police if you suspect any such issue.

  • Do not leave your important papers, bills or other details for others to look at.  The thieves may dig your trash to get your papers.  Therefore, you should carefully dispose of sensitive records and statements.

  • Do not leave a paper trail of ATM or receipts of payments.  Limit your exposure.

  • Inform your bank if you expect a bill or credit card statement that does not arrive on time.

  • If you change addresses, report it to the Royal Mail / fill the form to redirect the posts.  If you are not expecting any mail, you may not notice the missing mail, but if you notice a mail is missing, you should try to find out about it as soon as possible to avoid fraudulent activities on your account. 

  • You should always check your credit report, and if you find any suspicious activity, report to the authorities. 

How To Proceed If You Have Been A Victim?

  • If you get bills for items, you did not order or messages about opening a bank account, report it to the relevant organisation to avoid bad debts.

  • If you have lost a document related to your identities, like your passport or driving license, report it to the authorised agencies.

  • You should also inform the local police about such losses.

  • If you suspect that your mail address has been modified by someone else, you should contact Royal Mail and inform it. 

  • Get a copy of all your credit reports and analyse all the transactions.  If you see transactions that you do not normally deal with, report them to the organisation.  Keep records of all suspicious data (messages) and note conversations with the authorities and the financial organisation. 

What To Do If Your Card Is Lifted? 

Facility takeover happens when the existing account is hacked by the criminals who get access to all the user codes; sometimes, they get it through phishing or email scams.  Therefore, one should cancel the card and record all its activities.  Whenever you provide details through the card on the phone, at a shop, or some overseas location, ensure people do not read the information like when you have to inform the authorised numbers / PINs, discuss it privately.

  • Keep your documents in a safe in a lockable drawer or cabinet and store the valuable financial documents carefully, like the share certifications and others.

  • Do not throw away the bills, receipts, statements, or unwanted posts.  Instead, destroy the personal documents which are no longer required. 

How To Avoid Risks?

  • Do not provide personal account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly or on the phone. 

  • Do not use the same key for multiple websites accounts or never use other passwords for financial transactions.  Instead, use different keys for higher security.

  • To protect the information related to the deceased person in the family, use the authorised mail preference service.

  • You can contact the credit reference agencies that provide free victim fraud services to people who lose their details fraudulently.  The agencies liaise with the financial organisation to restore the compromised records. 

  • If you suspect a fraud, report it to the authorities.

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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