Your identity is a valuable commodity. You need it to function in everyday life. You need evidence of who you are to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, finance, loans and mortgages, to obtain goods or services, or to claim benefits.
But you may not be the only person using your own personal details, and your identity can be stolen and used by fraudsters who can impersonate you and take out various forms of credit or services, using your name. They can even take over your existing bank accounts by pretending to be you.
All the fraudster needs is a few of your details. A document bearing your name and/or your address makes it even easier for them to start defrauding you.
Identity fraud (or identity theft) is the fastest growing type of fraud in the UK and can take one of two forms.
Identity Theft and Identity Fraud are definitely not victimless crimes. In 2011 alone, CIFAS identified and protected over 96,000 victims of identity theft.
Identity Theft can be a harrowing experience for the victim. It can be months before the fraudster's actions are discovered, and in some cases it can take just as long to sort out the mess left behind.
There are measures you can take to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim, and if your identity is hijacked, there is help and advice available. Click here for a full list of the steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim.
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