Don’t Let It Be You!

Identity Fraud is a real and serious threat to all of us today, especially if we don’t take steps to protect our identities. 

It is a crime that affects businesses as well as individuals and in today’s climate, none of us can afford the financial or reputation losses which Identity Fraud can bring.  But don’t panic! By managing your information carefully, you can substantially reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of Identity Fraud. Here are some simple steps you can and should be taking to keep your identity safe.

For individuals

  • Always report any lost or stolen documents such as passport’s, driving licenses, bank cards, and cheque books
  • If you move house inform all relevant organisations and redirect mail to the new address.
  • Regularly obtain a copy of your credit report to flag up unusual activity.
  • Keep important personal information in a safe and secure place (preferably a lockable drawer or safe) and don’t share these details with people or companies you don’t know or trust.
  • If you are asked to supply any personal information by e-mail, mail, the phone or by any other means always check them out and if in doubt do not disclose.
  • Shredding documents is the best way to ensure that criminals cannot build up a profile based on the information you discard in your rubbish. Invest in a powerful shredder and make it standard practice, whether at home or at work, to shred all documents containing personal or financial information before binning or recycling them. Click here for help with choosing the right shredder for your requirements.
  • Check all your statements and financial records as soon as they arrive and report any discrepancies straight away. If your regular bills or statements stop being delivered, contact the organisation who issues them immediately. In addition, if you receive bills or statements for goods, service or benefits, which you have not applied for, again contact the relevant organisation immediately.

ONLINE

  • Use a variety of strong passwords for different online accounts and never share them or write them down.
  • Avoid visiting websites which require your personal and financial information in public Wi-Fi areas.
  • Be safe online – Regularly update your computer firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware programmes and delete your web browser and cookie history.
  • Think about the information you publish online and who you share your details with. Think before publishing phone numbers, workplace / school information, your address, date of birth or full name, and always make sure you use the privacy and security settings on social networking sites.

And some extra advice for businesses

  • Always keep company and confidential documents secure, preferably in a locked draw or room with limited access.
  • Always make sure that the information on old computers is wiped clean before discarding.
  • Make sure that all staff are fully aware of the risk of Identity Fraud. Create a clear set of guidelines concerning the handling, storage, sharing and disposal of sensitive information, both online and off-line.
  • Shredding information is the best way to dispose of documents securely and to ensure that criminals cannot fraudulently gain access to sensitive company details. Businesses have a duty of care to protect their customers and employees information and a legal obligation under the Privacy Act. Click here for help with choosing the right shredder for your requirements.
  • Always check the identity of your customers. Both business and consumer credit reference agencies offer a wide range of solutions to authenticate and verify the existence and identity of customers.