protection online fraud

Equifax has urged consumers to take greater care of their personal data as National Identity Fraud Prevention Month commences.

Research released earlier this year from CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, revealed that over 60% of frauds recorded on their database in 2013 were the result of the abuse of identity details.

Whilst some of this would have been based on the creation of fictitious identities by the fraudsters, a proportion of it would have been taking the name of an innocent victim to get products or services.

As Andrew Webb, Sales & Marketing Director, Equifax Personal Solutions explains, many people still seem unaware of the risks of identity fraud – and also unaware of the length of time it can take to get matters resolved after a fraud is identified.

"There are so many ways that a person's identity is at risk. From shopping online where all sorts of personal information is often requested – and handed over in return for special offers and discounts – to keeping receipts in wallets or throwing away financial statements and documents without shredding them. Plus many people still don't realise how easy it is for fraudsters to use the personal information available on social networking sites to steal their identity and open accounts in their name.

"It's important to understand the value of your private information and take precautions to keep ID fraud at bay because fraudsters can need as little as three pieces of personal data to begin fraudulent activity."

Equifax also urges consumers to regularly monitor their credit report for any changes to accounts or new accounts they didn't authorise, and to help protect their personal information online with Equifax WebDetect. The 24/7 ID monitoring solution helps keep consumers one step ahead of fraudsters by alerting them to potential unauthorised trading of their personal information. WebDetect is free for customers purchasing their Equifax Credit Report or Credit Score.

The Equifax Credit Report is accessible for 30 days free simply by logging onto www.equifax.co.uk/Products/credit/credit-report. If customers do not cancel before the end of the 30 Day Free Trial, the service will continue at £9.95 per month, giving them unlimited online access to their credit information and weekly alerts on any changes to their credit file. It also includes an online dispute facility to help them correct any errors on their credit file simply and quickly.

EQUIFAX TIPS TO PROTECT AGAINST ID FRAUD

  • Regularly apply for a copy of your credit file to look out for any unauthorised activity
  • Shred statements, bills and direct mail which contains personal information
  • Redirect mail if you move
  • Keep your PIN and passwords secure and ensure they are not easy to guess
  • Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts
  • Be careful of what you carry around in your handbag or wallet. Credit card receipts, payslips, driving licence, bank statement, utility bill…these all reveal a lot of information about you and a combination of these can be a fraudsters dream
  • When using online banking, ensure people can't view your details and log out of websites, rather than just closing the window
  • No matter how much you trust your friends, work colleagues, do not give out your PIN under any circumstances
  • Never store your PIN on smartphone, tablet or laptop devices - ensure these devices are themselves properly PIN or password protected because if they are stolen fraudster may have access to all your Facebook details
  • Do a factory reset when trading in an old phone to wipe it clean and remove any personal data
  • If you are disposing of an old computer, or other electronic device that stores data make sure you remove the information from the hard drive
  • Make sure your computer has the latest virus protection that ideally updates hourly and you have a Firewall