Identity theft is when a person’s personal details are stolen, and can happen whether that person is alive or dead.
Identity thieves can steal your personal information in a number of ways, including going through your post or rubbish to find bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers or tax information.
They could steal personal information from your wallet or purse by taking a driving licence, or credit or bank cards, or could obtain your credit report by posing as someone who has a lawful right to the information.
Some individuals may use the internet to acquire the personal information you share on unsecured sites. They may also use
Your information could even be stolen while you shop. In some cases, fraudsters may even ‘skim’ your credit card information when you make a purchase, leading to card cloning or card-not-present fraud.
Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception.
The first you learn of ID fraud could be when you get a bill or invoice for something you haven’t ordered, or when you have letters from debt collectors for debts that aren’t yours.
Fraudsters can use your identity details to:
Using a stolen identity for any of the above activities is identity fraud and a criminal offence.
Identity theft can happen by taking documents from your rubbish bin, or by making contact with you and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation.
There are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself against identity fraud:
If you're worried your personal details have been stolen, you've noticed any unusual account activity, or you've dealt with an organisation that's recently lost or leaked sensitive data, you may be at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud.
The idea is that companies and organisations who are signed up as members of the database will see you’re at risk and take extra steps to protect you, preventing fraudsters from using your details to apply for products and services.
If your identity has been stolen, you should contact your bank, credit card company and the local police on the non-emergency phone number, 101, as soon as possible to let them know the situation.