of leaving your credit card statement lying around
Identity theft is Britain's fastest growing crime.
the nation £1.7 billion every year.
It's silent, hidden, difficult
to detect, yet breathtakingly simple.
Criminals plunder the identities
of the living and the dead for personal profit.
East Midlands is a hotspot for Identity Fraud.
Last year 42,000 of us were
hit by the fraudsters, costing the local economy over £100 million.
British and Super Middleweight boxing champion Carl Froch from Nottingham was
one of them.
He tells us how he found out his personal identity had been
stolen, ruining his credit rating.
Carl Froch - victim of identity fraud|
Carl was the victim
of a postal scam.
He only found out that someone had been using his identity
when he applied for a mortgage renewal and was declined for the first time in
"I was a victim - I never saw it coming. It
almost cost me £35,000."
On further investigation,
he discovered that someone had been taking out store cards and credit in his name
without his knowledge:
"They had redirected my mail to
their address so that for two months they could look through it and steal my identity.
"I wanted to get hold of him and let loose on him."
With the help of reformed convict Bob Turney, we reveal just
how easy it is to steal someone's identity and track them down from personal information
which they thought they'd confined to the rubbish bin:
by carelessly throwing away a CV, means that you are supplying a potential ID
stealer with the complete set of information they need."
Turney - it's easy to access personal information|
all about ID theft:
"ID criminals are very clever, they're
up with IT and know what to do."
So we tracked down a
man who had thrown away an entire bank statement which we found lying on a rubbish
tip, just waiting to be found by the 'wrong' person.
He was shocked when
we told him that he had thrown away a 'ready made' identity kit.
Jones from credit reference agency Experian says that the best form of defence
is keeping an eye on your credit report:
"The sooner ID
fraud is spotted the better.
"And invest in a shredder - it could be
the best £20 you ever spent."
fraud is a 21st Century crime - and it's the fastest growing type of fraud in
So what can you do to avoid becoming a victim?
careful of throwing away old financial information|
* Keep your passport, credit cards, cheque books, driving licence, pay slips and
other personal information in a safe place.
* Check bank and credit card
statements carefully, and query anything that looks out of place.
* Be careful
when throwing out old documents, bank statements and credit card receipts. Criminals
search dustbins for these.
* Shred old documents to prevent bin raiders
from acquiring information about you and your identity.
* If you suspect
anything odd, call the relevant body as soon as possible e.g the Passport Office,
Vehicle Licensing, credit card company, bank etc
* Check with a credit reference
agency such as Experian or Equifax to make sure no fraudulent applications for
credit have been made in your name.
* Make your PC more secure - set
up passwords. Make it tough for someone to work out your password - use a combination
of letters and numbers in a random order. Change it as regularly as feasible.
Be wary of sharing your password.
* Emails are a common form of communication
but be aware of their limitations. Normal users on the internet can't see other
people's emails very easily but a hacker certainly could.
* If information
is confidential and financially sensitive , don't send it via email.
use well known and trusted companies when buying goods online and avoid giving
out any personal information on a site you haven't checked out first.
Firewalls are another way to protect your computer from unauthorised access.
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