Identity fraud: 20m pieces of personal info traded illegally this year
As National Identity Fraud Prevention Week kicks off, new research finds almost 20 million pieces of personal information have been illegally traded by fraudsters this year.
Almost 20 million pieces of personal information were illegally traded by fraudsters in the first half of this year.
That’s the findings of the latest fraud research by Experian CreditExpert.
Between January and June 19.7 million pieces of info were bought and sold between crooks. That’s more than the whole of 2011. If this level continues, then there will have been a fourfold increase on 2010.
The research was released to coincide with the start of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week. So what can you do to make sure some thief doesn’t end up with your details?
How to ensure your identity isn’t stolen
There are plenty of simple steps you can take to ensure that your personal information doesn’t end up in the hands of the fraudsters
Vary your passwords
Don’t use the same password repeatedly. The average Brit apparently uses just five passwords across an average of 26 different accounts and websites. That’s pretty risky.
Don’t use simple passwords
The best passwords include upper and lower case letters as well as numbers.
For tips on setting the best passwords, read How to protect your PINs and passwords.
Don’t fall for phishing emails
Not a day goes by when I don’t get some form of phishing email in my inbox. The majority are obvious – the spelling is appalling, the sentence structure is baffling, and the attempt to get me to follow a link and hand over my details is pretty basic.
But they are getting far more sophisticated, as two members of the lovemoney.com team have experienced at first hand this week. Ed Bowsher received a phishing email purporting to be from his bank which came from an email address from which he had previously received genuine correspondence. Check out A scary new twist on phishing.
Meanwhile, Simon Ward received an email supposedly from PayPal about a child pornography transaction, in a bid to gain access to his bank and credit card details. Read Warning: PayPal child pornography scam email for more.
Just remember that your bank will never ask for any sensitive details online.
Monitor your bank account and credit cards on a regular basis
Check your balance every couple of days. That way you’ll spot any dodgy transactions quicker.
Get decent anti-virus protection
There’s all sorts of anti-virus programmes out there, some of which won’t cost you a penny. Check out our Kit out your PC for free guide for more.
Monitor your credit report
Your credit record lists all of your credit commitments and applications. You’ll soon spot if somebody is trying to take out a credit card in your name! You can get a free 30-day trial with Experian through lovemoney.com.