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Identity Fraud

Tuesday, 28th April 2009

Believe it or not your identity is actually worth a lot of money to someone else - you need it to function in everyday life, they need it to fulfill their crime of impersonating you and obtaining credit as well as a service or product - in your name. In 2013 alone, Cifas identified and protected over 138,800 victims of these identity crimes.

With lenders becoming more aware of identity fraud you now need to show evidence of who you are to open a bank account, obtain credit cards, finance, loans & mortgages, to purchase goods / services and to claim benefits etc.

Debtwizard's do's and don'ts

Do's

  • Look out for unexpected letters or any documentation approving or even denying a credit application or financial service (such as insurance) as this would indicate that someone is trying to get a loan or mortgage in YOUR name.
  • Check your credit report regularly for any unusual activity.
  • Look for incorrect bills such as from mobile telephone companies.
  • Monitor your credit cards and bank accounts for rogue transactions, especially low amounts such as £10 - £30 as these may stay under the lenders fraud radar and make you think it was you that made the withdrawal.
  • Beware of anyone calling claiming to be from the bank, Police or any other department asking for passwords or PIN numbers, they may sound genuine to you because they will already know the National Insurance numbers and dates of birth of all parties. If suspicious then call them back through their switchboard and ask for the person concerned.
  • Shred all correspondence.
  • Change passwords and PIN numbers if they are names of children or dates of birth. Replace passwords with names of pets for example as these will not ne recorded on the data.

Don't

  • Just close down the accounts because of this, instead change your passwords and/or PIN numbers but do not use children's names, maiden name or dates of birth.
  • There is no need to panic instead tighten your security and follow the do's as above.

The risk to the individual

If you are cloned or have your identity compromised and become a victim of identity fraud then you will have your credit rating seriously affected because the fraudster will not make the payments to the dodgy loan, credit card or mortgage and this will impact on your credit rating. Creditors may even start legal proceedings against you to recover their money.

Am I covered by the bank if a fraudster takes my money or sets up other bogus loan accounts?

The British Bankers Association, BBA, say that under their code victims of fraud will be reimbursed, however, every case will be judged upon its merits. But in reality you should be covered.

What is CIFAS?

The major lenders in the UK consumer credit industry established Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System, CIFAS in 1988. CIFAS is a non-profit making membership association solely dedicated to the prevention of financial crime. It aims to detect and prevent fraud, and so safeguard innocent people whose names, addresses or other details are used fraudulently by others in order to get credit. They do not provide a credit reference database - they provide a fraud prevention service.

Find out more about CIFAS here

 

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