Around 350 individuals were registered as victims of identity fraud in the UK every day in 2013, highlighting the need for people to be exceptionally careful when it comes to their data.
More than 132,000 cases were recorded, often due to personal data being readily available for potential fraudsters.
Fraud experts at Experian believe it takes an average of 264 days to discover identity theft, meaning people could have details for a very long period of time without the victim even knowing.
Strong passwords for websites and ensuring that personal details are not widely accessible are two key areas that can help to limit the possibilities of fraud.
However, it is still possible to become a victim, so recognising some of the tell-tale signs of fraud can be important as they can enable the victims to take rapid action.
In order to not raise suspicions, some fraudsters will order goods fraudulently with plans in place to intercept the delivery before it reaches its locations.
However, they can fail to manage this, so it’s important not to accept the delivery and then to subsequently check bank statements for errors.
While some of these deliveries are made purely in error, others can be the first sign that personal details are being used fraudulently to purchase goods and services.
Court summons are received
If bills are not paid for long periods then a court summons could be produced, leaving the recipient unsure of what it relates to.
While it is easy to ignore, immediate action should be taken as the company or court should be contacted and the situation explained.
Both parties can then work together to resolve the situation and work out the level of fraudulent activity that has taken place.
New phone costs
If new calls or charges appear on a phone bill, it could be as a result of a fraudster attempting to take control of the account.
Service providers should be contacted immediately in these instances to clarify the situation, especially if a number of new SIM cards were purchased for use.
Most fraudsters will act because they are able to access personal details, so limiting what they can access is important.
Protecting finance is also possible in other ways, such as using a prepaid card which is not directly linked to a bank account.
This reduces the fraud risk and only the funds on the card could be spent in any transaction, providing a limit should someone attempt to use the card fraudulently.
Prepaid options can also help people to budget effectively, aiding their financial management skills as well as limiting their vulnerability to fraud.