Identity thieves are getting increasingly smart in their bid to steal personal information and use it for malicious purposes.
Details recently emerged of a criminal gang operating in the Whitecraigs suburb of Glasgow, which is a well-off area of the city. In an elaborate scam, the gang targeted the mail of the wealthy inhabitants by stealing it from mailboxes located at the ends of the driveways. They would then open the mail, copy the details, and replace the contents so that the inhabitants were left none the wiser.
Residents only became suspicious when the gang made a few mistakes, such as replacing a photocopy instead of the original document in one of the envelopes.
The thieves used the details that they stole to apply for credit cards and open bank accounts. They would then get access to as much credit as possible in the victim’s name.
They would also use the information from bank statements to contact the bank, ask for a new card and pin and then copy these when they were sent out to the victim.
One victim apparently lost £15,000 in the scam.
It can be difficult to protect yourself from such scams, but you should always play close attention to your mail to check for signs that someone has tampered with it. This is especially important for mail containing correspondence from banks or credit card providers.
Also, make sure you never make it easy for criminals to steal your identity by being careful about what you throw away. Never throw away your old bank statements or any other documents that contain personal information, and make sure you always destroy them instead.
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
- Identity Theft – Protect Yourself (assuredsecurityshredding.co.uk)
- UK ID Theft Hotspots Revealed (assuredsecurityshredding.co.uk)