Your identity is important
Your identity is valuable. Without it, many of the things we take for granted - on a day to day basis - would be impossible to get. Bank accounts, passports, driving licences, mortgages and tenancies, insurance, mobile phone contracts, benefits: all of these, and many more, depend on being able to prove who you are.
So - what if someone else was claiming to be you? What would happen if someone was using your identity to get products and services?
Sadly, fraudsters have increasingly started to turn to using the identities of others. This means pretending to be you in order to get new products or services, or making use of your details to break into and hijack your accounts.
If you, or someone you know, has had that sinking feeling upon finding that a credit card you did not know about has been taken out in your name, or that someone has withdrawn money from your account, then you are already aware of how important your identity is. Unfortunately, it also means you are aware of identity crime.
What is Identity Crime?
Identity crimes are the fastest growing types of fraud in the UK. They rely upon criminals making use of details to get past an organisation’s security measures: from dates of birth to financial details, passwords and so on. There are three main forms of identity crime today:
These are not victimless crimes either. Fraud never is. In 2012 alone, CIFAS identified and protected over 150,000 victims of these identity crimes. In each case, the money lost to fraudsters ends up increasing the costs of services, interest rates and premiums for genuine customers.
In addition, Identity Theft and Account Takeover can be a traumatic 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 of identity crime. If you are unfortunate enough to fall victim, and it was not as a result of any negligence on your part (e.g. having your wallet stolen with all your PINs and passwords noted down within it), then you should get the money lost returned to you.
If you do fall victim, remember - help is available. Click here for a full list of the steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim.
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