Statistics released recently by the Office for National Statistics show that cybercrime, including bank and building society fraud, is on the rise. Identity theft is part of this trend and can have major consequences on an individual’s personal life and finances. It is a risk that Home and Legacy are aware of and take very seriously.
With that in mind it is vital you take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family out of harm’s way. Here are our top tips for protecting your identity:
1. Online passwords: Always use secure, unique passwords for as many online accounts as possible, and ideally all of them. At the very least have a unique password for each type of service provider such as financial services, retail services and email.
2. Emails: Don't be tempted to open emails, links or attachments received from people you don't know. If an email seems suspicious, contact the relevant organisation and don't give out personal details. Don’t use the number on the email – it could be a fake too.
3. Account details: Don't store account names and passwords on your smartphone, either in email, as a note, or to 'autocomplete' when you open a website or app. It will be a goldmine for fraudsters if your device is lost or stolen.
4. Your cards: Shoulder-surfing at ATMs does happen. If an ATM looks like it’s been tampered with, don’t use it. And don’t let your card out of your sight in shops and restaurants – staff could clone it. Remember to tell your card issuers if you are going away - If you don’t their fraud prevention team may put your account on hold if they notice a string of transactions abroad.
4. Social Websites: Be cautious and don't add people you don't know. Remember what you might consider to be unimportant information like your birthday, email address or dog's name could all be misused by criminals.
5. Your address: Avoid using public bins to dispose of envelopes with your address on and instead of putting it on luggage labels put it inside your case.
6. Be credit wise: Monitor your credit report, bank account and card statements regularly - it will help you spot any suspicious activities as early as possible and avoid financial loss.
A professional ID protection service offers that extra layer of protection, which is why Home & Legacy provides an identity and online fraud protection service in conjunction with Experian, as standard on all home insurance policies.
The 'Protect My ID' policy benefit includes 24 hour online personal data monitoring and alert service, a credit report monitoring and alert service, a personal victim of fraud case worker, a confidential helpline and gives the policyholder unlimited access to their Experian credit report.
Be careful how you store your data – an online burglary is just as damaging as a real one.