A former company director has warned of the dangers of identity fraud, after scammers applied for 29 financial products in his name.
The East Midlands man first realised he’d fallen victim to ID fraud after being posted a Laura Ashley credit card he had not applied for.
It later emerged that scammers had used his personal details to apply for:
- eight credit cards
- seven current accounts
- six loans
- five mail order accounts.
Upon receiving an unsolicited credit card, the man immediately contacted the company’s fraud department and had his details added to Cifas’ victim of fraud database. Around £100 had been spent on credit cards in his name before the fraud was identified and stopped.
He said: ‘In subsequent months I found out the fraud was more prolific than I had anticipated. If the fraud hadn’t been identified and stopped, the fraudster could have racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt in my name.’
Find out more: what is identity theft? – see our consumer rights guide
Company directors at high risk of fraud
This worrying case of fraud was revealed by credit reference agency Equifax, which stated that fraudsters could have gained access to his details from Companies House, ‘as he had previously been a company director’.
According to fraud prevention body Cifas, company directors make up almost one in five (19%) of ID fraud victims, despite comprising less than 9% of the population. Data from Cifas also shows that 17% of company-director victims have been hit by ID fraud more than once.
How to avoid identity theft
Scammers are using increasingly sophisticated tactics to steal people’s personal details and commit identity fraud, but there are several steps you can take to protect yourself:
- If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from a company asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers.
- Don’t leave utility bills, or other documents with your personal details, lying around for others to see. Shred or tear up these communications before you throw them away.
- Create strong online passwords, and don’t use the same one for every website you log in to.
- Change your social media privacy settings so that you’re only sharing information with people you know. Don’t accept invitations from strangers on social media sites.
- Never use public wi-fi to access sensitive apps or websites, such as mobile banking.
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 quickly as possible. You should also report the case to Action Fraud.
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