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Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud
Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit identity fraud. Identity theft can take place whether the fraud victim is alive or deceased.
If you’re a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances and could also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.
Identity fraud can be described as the use of that stolen identity in criminal activity to obtain goods or services by deception.
Fraudsters can use your identity details to:
The first you know of it may be when you receive bills or invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.
Criminals commit identity theft by stealing your personal information. This is often done by taking documents from your rubbish or by making contact with you and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation.
Protect yourself against identity fraud
What should you do if you’ve been a victim of identity fraud?
If your plastic cards are lost or stolen, cancel them immediately. Keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call.
When giving your card details or personal information over the phone, internet or in a shop, make sure other people cannot hear or see your personal information.
Passwords and PINs
Protecting the identity of deceased family members
Criminals sometimes use the identities of deceased persons to commit fraud, which can be very distressing for those close to the deceased.
The following websites offer deceased person mail preference services and provide further information on this issue:
Credit reference agencies
The credit reference agencies provide a free victims of fraud service for anyone who has had their personal details used fraudulently. Importantly, the credit reference agencies liaise with each other, and the banks, to restore compromised personal credit records. The service can be accessed by contacting Experian, Equifax or Callcredit by using the contact details below:
Phone: 0800 121 4752 Web: www.equifax.co.uk/ask
Phone: 0870 060 1414 Email: email@example.com
Phone: 0844 481 8000 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Experian Credit Expert Web: www.creditexpert.co.uk
ClearScore Web: www.clearscore.com
Noddle Web: www.noddle.co.uk
How to report it
If Fraud has been committed report it to Action Fraud. For more advice and to raise any concerns, contact the Office of the Public Guardian.
Source - Action Fraud
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