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New fear as identity thieves target those close to them

A new survey has discovered that a third of people who have suffered from identity fraud or identity theft claim to know the fraudster who misused their personal details.

 
PRLog - Nov. 9, 2010 - But what exactly is identity fraud and identity theft? Identity theft occurs when person’s confidential details are stolen for the use of crime, however it becomes identity fraud once these personal details are used for another’s own unlawful gain. This identity and personal information is valuable. Fraudsters can use it to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, welfare benefits and documents such as passports and driving licences. Or they can simply buy goods or transfer funds into an account they have set up. They can even ask for the person's address to be changed so all statements and information are sent directly to them.

So it's possibly quite shocking that it could be people you know who are committing crime against you. But around 31% of people who have been a victim of identity theft say they know who had stolen their identity, with 69% saying they thought it was a member of their family. In the survey of 5,000 victims of identity fraud, a further 25% of people thought their details had been stolen by another tenant in the same property. About 6% said they thought their details had been taken and misused by a friend, a former partner or a work colleague.

Nearly two million people have their identities stolen every year, and there's been a change in the type of people being targeted by identity fraudsters. Instead of well-off victims, criminals are simply committing more crimes of lower value fraud against people whose lifestyle made them more vulnerable to the crime. These included young professionals, single parents on low incomes, people living in flats with communal halls where the post is delivered, and people who move home a lot.

So it has never been more important to be careful with personal details, passwords and private information, and sadly, to be wary of housemates and lodgers. And as the build up to Christmas approaches, and people make purchases online, it is even more important. Identity thieves increase operations at this time so it is important to check through bank statements, only use reputable and secure websites, and ensure internet connections are secure.

On top of this, one of the best ways for people to check that they have not unwittingly become a victim of identity theft is by viewing their credit report. This way they can monitor their financial activity closely and be sure that nobody else has made any applications in their name. One simple way of checking a credit report is at http://www.quickcreditscore.co.uk  

Quick Credit Score is an online membership programme which provides the tools people need to access and monitor their financial and credit information. This includes allowing direct access to your credit report, provided by one of the UK’s leading credit reference agencies, Callcredit. Quick Credit Score allows people to stay protected with 24/7 alerts of suspicious activity on their credit file provided by Callcredit. The credit report shows any credit, accounts or benefits applied for in a person's name, and any new activity on a credit report will trigger one of these alerts. This might be something as simple as paying off a credit card statement, but by spotting any unauthorised activity, victims will be able to react immediately, and notify all of the relevant authorities and companies.

To check your credit report please visit http://www.quickcreditscore.co.uk or for more information please call 0845 026 1094

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