The truth about Identity Fraud and how to avoid it easily...

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by wibble, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. wibble

    wibble Well-Known Member

    How to easily avoid Identity Fraud

    Every day I speak to people who are victims of Identity theft, I deal with Identity theft claims and its an area of my work I'm becoming increasingly frustrated by. THe reason I'm becoming frustrated is that the means to avoid Identity theft are so simple and obvious, yet their consistantly overlooked. So here I'm going to do a small, step by step guide so you can avoid being a victim of Identity theft.

    What Identity theft is
    Its simply the misuse of your name. Thats it. A lot of people think its card cloning or account take over, but thats not the extent of it, simply because your identity is not your account. You may have heard of licence plate cloning, which is where a fraudster can clone your car plates and use them to steal petrol, speed or avoid a conjestion charge. Or benefit fraud, which sees a person attempting to claim benefits fraudulantly. Or my personal pet hate, new forms of credit. A fraudster may target you and take out a loan or a mobile contract in your name, and because its got bugger all to do with your current accounts, no money is coming out, so nothing appears on your statements. If its with another company, your bank will NOT help you out and it is regarded as a civil matter between you and the bank, so the police won't step in.

    The thing is, its remarkably simple to do. Most companies make the application process so bloody easy you can do it with a gas bill and another form of ID. And those are dead simple to knock together.

    So what can you do?

    1: Shred. The reason you shred is to stop people getting your info, but the vast majority of people only shred statements. WHat you need to be doing is shredding EVERY BIT OF PAPER WITH YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ON IT. The reason is simple, your name and address is all a fraudster needs. With that, they can research you on the public records and build a profile of you.

    2: Get a fire wall/Anti virus. Everyone says to me, my info is secure. I'm sure it is, but are those things you use kept up to date? Do you routinely scan for malware or spyware? Some free programme is ok, but you really need to be on top of this stuff.

    3: Be careful with your info. You wouldn't tell me your pin number, so why tell me your date of birth? Don't be an idiot and put your personal information on facebook, bebo and everywhere else.

    4: Social networking sites. A lot of my friends make the above mistake, and then have a habit of letting anyone be their friend/view their file/whatever. If you insist on having this information up, think about who your letting see it, do they need to view it, do you know what these people will do with the information?

    5: Look out for Phishing/Pharming scams. We've all had e-mails telling us we've won the national lottery of some shithole, but the other ones to really look out for are ones pretending to be from banks and building societies. They usually read along the lines of "There's been a problem with your account" or "we're going to freeze your account" and so on, they then ask you to use a link to a website that will log your details, and they'll ask for things like account numbers and so on. Now these scams use language with a lot of Call to Action statements designed to create panic and confusion. Think about it logically, your bank has your details, why would they e-mail you when they can write to you? If theres a problem, call the bank yourself using the number on the back of your bankcard, not one supplied by an e-mail.

    6: Keep your details up to date with the bank. If you've not let them know your change of address or new phone number, how can they contact you if there's a problem?

    7: Keep an eye on your accounts. Each account has a profile of how and where you spend your cash, so if its a deviation, it gets flagged as potential fraud (which is why banks ask you to let them know if your taking the card overseas). Now, traditionally, this was values in the area of £1, a small charity direct debit, an I tunes purchase, small transactions designed to manipulate this profile. Obviously banks have gotten wise to this, so now what it more often resembles is purchases of £20-£30, like a standard internet/entertainment purchase thats a little less obvious. If you're on top of this, what it stops is a fraudster doing it a few times then taking a few hundred or thousand quid off you.

    8: Look after your cards. Sounds obvious, like cover your pin and all that, but theres more too it. What else you can do is make sure the card NEVER leaves your sight, even in a resturaunt or a petrol station, as what a fraudster can do is swipe the card and copy the black strip, then burn that onto any card with a similar strip. Remember, they don't use chip and pin in lots of places outside the UK, which is why so much card cloning happens abroad. Also, run your finger under the card slot before you put the card in there, theres a device called a "Lebonese Loop" which does the same thing and slots inside the card hole. If in doubt, just give the machine a good smack on the side and make sure nothing drops off.

    9: Remember, its not just about your accounts, its your name.

    10: opt out of things. Your details are held on databases like the electoral role, the properties registry, registry of births, marriages and deaths. Now remember, if a fraudster wants to take out finance in your name, this is where they will often start, as the credit application process is frequently very simple. Now, you can opt out of these lists, but you have to make the effort to. When your voting form comes round, look on the right, theres a tick box which says "Tick to not appear on the edited electoral register". If you tick it, you can still vote, only your details can't be seen by others. If you think its bollocks, check the propertys registry to see whats on there about you.

    11: recognise that it could be YOUR problem. A lot of people take the moral highground and say "well I've not done it, I'm not paying", which is fine if you enjoy having your head up your backside, but lets look at the facts.
    a: Its not just fraud against you, its against a company, and they have the right to persue payment
    b: Its often regarded as a civil matter, in other words, police are not going to sort it out.
    c: its got sod all to do with your existing banks
    d: Its your name on there, which means you can be held liable for it. This means CCJs, Bills etc...
    e: You will NOT be covered by the banking code if its not with your existing banks

    12: Find out about it in time: Check your credit file. If its in your name and its on credit, it'll appear on your credit report. This would even be things like Buy now pay later and mobile contracts. Now you can do this for about £2 a time or many, like experian, offer a free trial. By spotting it early on, you can deal with it before it gets to the final demands stage.

    13: Go to the ombudsman. Threaten a bank with this if its under £350. the reason is, its free for you to report something to the ombudsman, but it will cost a bank £350 a time.

    14: Get some protection. There a lot of free schemes like CIFAS registration, Verified by Visa, plus a lot of package accounts like the Capital One account that come with support for Identity fraud beyond the account itself. Look at these and see what you can get for free.

    Right, well thats all i can be arsed to type, feel free to add to it, share your experiences or whatever, but I hope its of use to someone...
  2. Hae-Gi

    Hae-Gi Banned Member

    In Sweden, many companies require you to give your date of birth and the four security numbers if you want to order from them. It's not legal to force a customer to do this, but they just do it, anyway, and nothing is done about it. If you don't give your information, you can't order, so what do you do? Your date of birth and the four numbers that follow also create your social security number, which is beyond stupid. The Swedish riksdag, and previous ones, and most of Sweden's citizens, have a very laid back attitude about this sort of information... even schools often keep your social security number available for any other pupil to see... or at least they used to. I can only assume that identity theft criminals are enjoying this and making good use of all this excess information.

    Yeah, and my bank uses Windows. Genius. :rolleyes:
  3. Mikeintx

    Mikeintx Well-Known Member

    Well written.

    In the case of fraud in america make sure you DO NOT PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSES FRAUD. Like say a check cashing place calls and says you are in collections and you did not use their services, no matter what do not pay. Bring down the police report and firmly tell them to resolve the issue or you will own the check cashing place. Tell them you will sue the shit out of them if they do not take it off of your credit. It is their responsibility to prove that the person cashing the check is you, if they do not it is their fault the check was cashed, not yours. Also do this quickly, do not wait, the faster you get in contact with them the better.
  4. 12years

    12years Well-Known Member

    Ironically, the less information we give out the higher is the chance of our credit reports getting mixed up--at least if our name is as generic as "John Smith." And it's not like most of us check our report once a year like we're supposed to. We're more likely to not realize the error until it's too late.

    I'm just saying.
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