ID theft is becoming increasingly common these days. In fact, it is one of the most popular types of fraud carried out in the UK. Becoming a victim of ID theft can be a distressing experience that can have long-term repercussions, especially if your credit score is affected and you are unable to get access to credit.
But how exactly do people steal your identity? There is a lot of talk about online dangers in the media. But although the details you publish online can put you at risk, many data thieves often use more low-tech tactics to steal your identity.
1. Stealing from Your Post
One of the most effective types of ID theft involves intercepting your post. If a thief can intercept a new credit card sent from your bank, they may then apply for a new PIN and intercept this as well. Even if they don’t get hold of one of your cards, they can still use information in your personal documents to apply for bank accounts and credit.
2. Stealing from Your Bin
If you throw away your documents that have personal information, even if it is just an old bank statement, this could be enough to steal your identity. This, fortunately, is easy to prevent. Simply make sure you always destroy your documents properly before throwing them out.
3. ATM Tactics
Sometimes thieves use devices in ATMs to either capture your card or to copy its details. If they then look over your shoulder and see your PIN, they’ve got your details. This can also happen when you pay for something, like in a restaurant.
The defence here is to never let your cards out of your sight, and to always shield your PIN when at an ATM or paying for goods in a store.
4. Gathering Information Online
Many people publish information about themselves online that can be harvested by ID thieves. This is especially common on social media. Even if you don’t publish financial information about yourself, even basic personal information such as your date of birth and telephone number is often enough. In fact, many people are surprised by just how little a thief needs in order to steal your data.
Checks You Can Make
As well as doing everything you can to keep your data and documents safe, there are also some checks that you can carry out on a regular basis.
Firstly, keep track of your mail. If you are expecting a new card or PIN number, keep an eye out for it. If it does not arrive, this could indicate a problem.
Keep a careful eye on your bank statements as well. If any money disappears from your account and you are unsure why, always follow it up even if it is a very small amount.
Another good check is to keep a close eye on your credit report. If you have always had good credit and then you spot something strange on your credit report, this could indicate a problem. So it is worth checking your report on a regular basis for signs of anomalies.
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