Identity Fraud Protection

We can protect ourselves against identity fraud in a number of ways. Here we list our top tips to help you prevent your identity from being stolen and used for fraudulent purposes:

Protect Your Personal Details:
If an identity fraudster can't get hold of your personal details, then they can't commit a fraud against you. Here is a checklist of possible ways to protect your personal information:

• Keep your personal information secure. Lock any documents away if possible.
• Make sure that any usernames do not indicate your identity. Use ambigous usernames such as 'SporTs_1000'.
• Use strong passwords for everything 8 characters long, with a mixture of numbers, upper case & lower case letters.
• Use different passwords for email, banking, work, websites, social networking etc. (practical tips coming soon)
• Always question why a third party needs your personal information before passing it on to them.
• Securely destroy personal documents. Shred them & split the waste into different bins so it can't be pieced together.
• Don't keep cards, passports, cheque books, bank statements, driving licences and other personal documents in the same place.

Protect Your Financial Details:
Identity fraudsters are always on the lookout for financial information. Keeping your financial details secure will make the criminals task increasingly difficult.

• Keep your financial details to yourself!
• If shopping online, ensure you know who you are dealing with & that the website is secure (e.g. Verisign secure).
• Register for Verified by Visa or MasterCard SecureCode to add an additional layer of security to online payments.
• Memorise your PIN numbers. Use a different PIN for each card and never disclose them to anyone.
• Be vigilent when using cash machines. Check there are no attachments on the machine and protect your PIN.
• When making payments. Keep your card in view at all times. Don't let anyone see your PIN.
• If someone calls you & claiming to be from your bank (or other credit source), don't give personal details on that call. Take down their name and the department they are in, then tell them you will call them back. You can then simply obtain the contact information for their department via a trustworthy source (such as directory enquiries), phone them back and get routed through to the correct person. Only then should you consider giving out personal information.

Manage Your Mail:
Those commiting identity theft may attempt to intercept your post. By managing your mail effectively you can reduce the potential for a criminal to steal your personal details in this manner. Missing mail could mean that it has been intercepted by fraudsters, your accounts may have been accessed and your contact details could have been changed.

• Know when to expect bank statements to arrive. If they don't turn up as expected then get in contact with your bank.
•If you move house you should redirect your post immediately - this will ensure your mail will not go to your previous address and cannot be intercepted
• Inform your credit card companies, bank and other financial organisations you have a relationship with (e.g. catalogues) that you have moved and make sure they update their systems
• Register with the Mailing Preference Service at your old address.

Know Your Credit File:
Your personal credit report provides detail of your complete financial history. This will include sources of credit obtained by yourself. If you are unfortunate enough to of become a victim of identity fraud, then you may also discover additional sources of credit appearing on your credit report.

• Sign up to a credit monitoring service to keep tabs on your credit report. Not only will a credit monitoring service provide detail of your past credit agreements, but you can also receive alerts of any current changes to your credit file. With such alerts you can automatically discover if anyone fraudulently applies for credit using your identity. We have recommended two credit monitoring services below:

• Equifax Credit Watch Gold : This personal credit report monitoring service from Equifax provides you with a FREE 30 day trial period, in which time you have unlimited online access to your personal credit reports and are provided with monitoring update notifications within 24 hours of each change to your personal credit history. Read more about Equifax Credit Watch Gold and start gaining the benefits of monitoring your personal credit file.

• Experian CreditExpert: A personal credit report monitoring service from Experian. This service offers a FREE 30 day trial period. The full service provides you with weekly alerts of significant changes to your personal Experian credit report. You can check your online credit report an unlimited number of times. Read more about Experian CreditExpert and start monitoring your Experian credit file.

Order Equifax Identity Watch Protection

Want to order a personal credit report service: Use the links below to place your order with Experian & Equifax:

Get an online Credit Report From Experian and also receive credit monitoring alerts. Experian Credit Monitoring

Use Equifax to view your Credit Report and get monitoring alerts. Order Equifax Services Here: Get Equifax Credit Monitoring!

LEARN more about Credit Reports, the way lenders use them and how to Improve Your Credit Score: Personal Credit Report Articles!