How to keep your identity secure
Your identity and personal details are very important for a variety of reasons. If these are compromised by criminals, you may only discover financial crime when you receive letters seeking repayment of debts you haven't incurred, or you find an unexplained credit in your bank account. It can take a lot of time and patience to resolve such issues - and your credit rating may be affected as a result. So what can you do to protect yourself?
- Keep valuable documents secure
- Destroy all unwanted paperwork
- Keep your bank updated
- Check your statements
- Don't fall for scams
- Confirm your credit rating
- Register for a protection service
Keep valuable documents secure
It's vital you look after any identity document such as your passport and driving licence. Always make sure they are in your possession, whether at home, in the office or on holiday.
When you're not using them, items such as passports, birth certificates, chequebooks and receipts are best kept in a locked drawer at home. Please also remember to keep your chequebooks separate from your bank cards at all times.
It's also recommended that you regularly backup copies of your most important computer files.
Destroy all unwanted paperwork
Don't give criminals a leg up. Always shred all important personal and financial paperwork when you don't need it any longer - preferably using a cross-cut shredder for additional security. If you don't do this, criminals could establish your name, address and other details by going through your household rubbish and then use any information they glean to apply for credit, goods or services in your name.
Paperwork to shred includes:
- Old bank, credit card and financial statements
- Old credit card receipts
- Any partly completed application forms carrying your personal details
- Insurance renewal notices
- Partly completed direct debit or standing order mandates
- Any mailshots with your name and address on them
- Also, don't forget to destroy all unwanted plastic cards.
Keep your bank updated
We may need to contact you from time to time to confirm details of certain transactions on your account, should they look unusual in comparison with routine items normally seen. This can significantly reduce the impact of financial crime.
It's crucial that if you change your name, address or contact telephone numbers (including your mobile number), you let us know immediately.
Check your statements
Much financial crime can go undetected for long periods, simply because victims are not aware it has happened. It may be weeks or months before fraud is spotted. It's therefore vital that you carefully check all bank, credit card and any other statements when you receive them. Make sure that all entries you see are correct. If there are transactions that you don't recognise, please report the details immediately to your branch or card issuer. They will then be able to help you sort out the problems.
Your post could be invaluable information in the wrong hands. So if you fail to receive a bank or credit card statement or any other expected financial information, immediately tell your bank or card issuer. Remember, you may be able to collect valuable items, such as new cards, from a local branch. Furthermore, if you are in the process of changing address, make sure you arrange to have all your mail re-directed and inform all parties you deal with.
Confirm your credit rating
It is a good idea to obtain a copy of your personal credit report on a regular basis to see which financial organisations, if any, have accessed your information. Credit reports can cost as little as £2. If you have concerns about the impact of financial crime on your credit rating, contact the following credit rating agencies for help:
Register for a protection service
Our industry partners CIFAS offer a protective registration service designed to prevent your name and address from being misused by third parties.