The value of your identity
Don't let it become too late before appreciating the value of your identity
But what exactly is 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.
So, how are the crooks finding out people's personal details, and what can you do to protect yours? According to McAfee Resources, fraudsters are most likely to capture credit card data using spyware programs. These log and track keystrokes on your computer to establish your user names, passwords and PIN numbers. Often they do this by getting you to click on a link that takes you to a fake login site. This basic data they can sell on for £2, but if they can get full details about the bank or credit card and its owner, it is worth a lot more to them.
Criminals can also get hold of machines that can print fake credit cards, complete with magnetic strips and embossed numbers, using card skimmers - devices that fit over the card intake slot and copy the data.
There are a number of things you can do to increase your chances of remaining safe from identity theft:
• Don't use cash machines that look like they may have been tampered with, and let your bank know immediately if you think your card's information has been stolen.
• However tricky it's going to be for you, make your passwords difficult to guess, by using combinations of letters, numbers and symbols.
• Never click on links in emails which look like they're from your bank asking for login information. Your bank won't ask you for confidential information by email. It's worth telling your bank about the emails.
• Also don't call a number shown on the fake email or website - make sure you have the bank's real number.
• Never respond to emails that ask you for confidential data
• Keep antivirus protection on your home and work computers as up to date as possible.
• Try not to use wi-fi for services where you might use personal details, such as online banking.
There is also a way for people to check that they have not unwittingly become a victim of identity theft, which 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. 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, victims will be able to react immediately, and notify all of the relevant authorities and companies.
To learn more about credit reporting and how to keep your identity safe please visit http://www.quickcreditscore.co.uk for full product details, credit information and identity theft hints.
Quick Credit Score is an online membership programme, which gives you access to your credit information held by one of the UK’s leading credit reference agency. Quick Credit Score is a membership programme and monthly membership fees are payable after any free promotional free period has come to an end.