Whilst property fraud and cybercrime are thankfully uncommon, identity fraud is regrettably increasing. In 2015, online identity fraud increased by a massive 86%. With regional figures showing Manchester and London as hotspots. This type of fraud has now topped the list of the worst fraud in the UK today (February 2017)*
The scary thing is people often do not realise that they have been a victim of identity fraud until it is too late. BLG is a responsible lender and will work with you to keep you and your details safe. However, working with us is a two-way street and no matter how good and safe we endeavour to be you also need to be vigilant to stay safe.
Below are a few simple suggestions to help protect yourself:
- Carefully read all correspondence sent to you. Always telephone to check if you have any concerns.
- Regularly monitor your credit report.
- Shred documents: bank statements, utility bills, application forms, card receipts, etc. They can all give away information you would rather keep to yourself. More than three-quarters of all household waste contains at least one or more items that could assist fraudsters in stealing your identity.
- Please take care when sending sensitive information in an email. We suggest attachments by way of pdf (particularly for bank details) or using the old fashioned way and calling us. We will always call you back to confirm.
- Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are fantastic platforms for networking and staying in touch but do take care with what you share. Fraudsters actively mine for personal data and it is surprising how much we unwittingly share.
- Be alert to “phishing” – this is where fraudsters masquerade as a trustworthy company and email you for sensitive information.
- Regularly check your privacy settings.
- Password protect your devices – the more random the password the better. Of the 20,000 Yahoo passwords recently scooped up by hackers the most popular password was 123456.
- Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date.
- Take extra care on public WIFI.
If you think you have been a victim of identity fraud DO NOT DELAY, report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
Dyan Letts is BLG’s Credit Operations Director