Identity fraud is one the fastest-growing crimes in the UK – but there are plenty of steps you can take to help protect yourself against becoming a victim of identity fraud, and checking your credit report is a great place to start.
To protect yourself from identity fraud the Home Office recommends that you check your credit report regularly, because it gives you a snapshot of your financial history and all your credit accounts.
You can see any recent applications made for credit in your name, spot any unfamiliar accounts or inexplicable debts immediately. If you check your credit report regularly, you will be able to pick up on and put a stop to any problems before they escalate.
Make sure you do this before you throw them away to protect your identity. This doesn't just apply to bank or credit card statements, even an old catalogue showing your name, address and account number could be enough to help a thief steal your identity.
Look through your bank and credit card statements thoroughly for any suspicious transactions.
If important documents like your passport or driving licence are lost or stolen, report it to the relevant organisation as soon as possible.
Phishing usually takes place through emails claiming to be from your bank, but phishing phone calls have also been reported. Phishing scams will ask you for personal details like account numbers, PINs or password – but you shouldn't ever give away this kind of information.
You probably wouldn't think twice about mentioning your pet's name or your children's names, but many people use this kind of information as passwords too – so giving away this kind of information too freely could leave you vulnerable to identity fraud.
If you aren't, thieves could use your previous address details to get credit, and run up debts in your name.
It's best to do this for at least a year if you move house so that your post can't get into the wrong hands.
It's good practice to not tell you PIN or passwords to anyone, no matter how much you trust them, and don't write them down anywhere either.
If you don't receive important documents in the post when you were expecting them you should act straight away. Contact the sender and advise them that you haven't received your documents.
A key element of identity protection is staying vigilant and keeping on top of your post among other things.