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Identity Theft – What is it and How to Reduce your Chances of Being a Victim of it

January 13, 2022 4:28 am

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One of the biggest and most worrying crimes of the modern age is identity theft. This is something that can affect anyone, and with more modern technology at hand, criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their ways of scamming people and obtaining the information that they want in order to commit this crime.

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Identity theft is used to do many things – when the criminals get their hands on certain details, they can get information to do many things – these include (but are not limited to) accessing your emails, opening a bank account in your name, taking over and using your current bank account, taking out contracts on things like mobile phones and shopping for items using your information and of course your money.

Often, people who have been the victims of this, do not realise for some time – this may be when a credit card statement arrives, or when you go to your bank and realise that there is not any money in there. By this time however, there is often little that you can do. Something else to be aware of is the fact that even a deceased person can be the victim of identity theft.

Although there are lots of threats out there trying to obtain your information and steal your identity in order to commit these crimes there are things that you can do to prevent this. Something that a lot of people fall foul of are the criminals who will search bins for information on documents that you have thrown away. Make sure that you always dispose of documents that contain your personal information correctly – a confidential shredding service like this https://www.printwaste.co.uk/confidential-shredding/ is a great way to securely dispose of your confidential documents.

Online and phone related scams are also a common way that scammers get access to your data. Emails and text messages can often look legit, and there are a lot of people who can get sucked in this way. When you receive a text message or an email, it is always important for you to check it out if you are suspicious in any way – as previously mentioned, a lot of them can come across as genuine, and in the past 12 months we have seen many scams going around pretending to be large organisations like the NHS and Royal Mail for example.

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A simple way to get around this is to make sure that when you receive these sorts of messages, before giving away any of your information, contact the company that it has allegedly come from directly – not via a link on the message or the email – and ask them if it is genuine. You should always be wary of giving out any information that companies may ask for, such as dates of birth, addresses and in particular, financial details.

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