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Mobile phones become new target for identity thieves

Home Office warn of new tactics, as identity fraud continues to rise

 
PRLog - Dec. 7, 2010 - EDGWARE, U.K. -- According to the Home Office, the theft of mobile phones to commit identity fraud rose sharply last year, and looks set to continue to increase. A recent survey found that 80% of mobile phone users store personal and sensitive information on their mobile phones, and this makes them a key target for identity thieves. Metropolitan Police figures show that around 10,000 mobile phones are stolen each month. Put the two facts together and it could cause an explosion of criminal activity. And with the growing popularity of smart phones, which carry even more information, stealing them for this information becomes even more attractive for thieves.

But what exactly is identity fraud and identity theft? It's basically where someone takes over another person's bank account or credit card by impersonating them using the personal information they have collected. 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.

All of this personal information is readily available on today's smart phones, and familiarity with phone technology and internet access is encouraging us to become more dependent on our phones and trustful of them. But people store a surprising amount of personal information on their phones. There may be information in text messages, email addresses, calendars, and people even store their user names and PIN numbers. There is also information in photographs, which will have the geographical location embedded into each picture, including those of people's homes.

There are a number of precautions people can take to protect themselves from identity theft. They can password-protect their phone and be careful not to store passwords to various accounts. When buying or upgrading to a new phone, people should delete all information from the old one, whatever they intend to do with the handset. There is also security software available that allows information to be erased remotely should the device be lost or stolen.
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 a credit report, provided by one of the UK’s leading credit reference agency. Quick Credit Score allows people to stay protected with 24/7 alerts of suspicious activity on their credit file. 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, potential victims will be able to react immediately, and notify all of the relevant authorities and companies.

To learn more about credit reporting please visit http://www.quickcreditscore.co.uk or call us on 0845 026 1094 for more information.

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Location:Edgware - Middlesex - United Kingdom
Industry:Consumer, Technology
Tags:identity fraud, identity theft, home office, quick credit score, mobile phone, theft
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