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Watch out if you’re young! Seven steps to protecting yourself from identity fraud

Published 19 May 2015 by

Here are five questions that could change the way you think about identity fraud.

1. Are you young?

2. Are you renting privately?

3. Do you love using your smartphone?

4. Do you earn between £20,000 and £29,000 a year?

5. Are you still free from the responsibility of children?

If you’ve answered ‘yes' to these questions, this blog might just save you a whole heap of trouble. Recent research shows that people who answer ‘yes’ are the most targeted for ID fraud, with one in five fraud cases, according to an article in the Daily Mail, being from this at risk group. Part of the issue seems to be that they live in flats that have shared hallways and communal areas, which, according to Experian, who carried out the survey, makes it easier for private information to be stolen.

So what can you do if you’re in the ‘at risk’ group?

1. Check that your post box is secure – if you have a communal post box area, make sure your box is completely secure and it’s clearly marked too. This way the chances of your post ending up in someone else’s box is minimised. If you know you have something important coming in the post, like a credit card, why not ask for it to be sent to your work address? If that’s not possible, you could ask for all important mail to be sent to you using the signed for service.

2. Make sure your phone and computer are secure – most banking apps are secure these days, but it’s always worth checking that you’ve done all you can to ensure you’re preventing others from accessing details on your phone. And, don’t forget about securing wi-fi connections with a password in your home too, as well as adding the latest security software on your PC.

3. Be careful who you tell – this should really be common sense, but it’s always worth saying again, be careful who you give your personal information to. Golden rule – if in doubt, don’t do it.

4. Dispose of stuff properly – when you’re done with official documents, such as bank statements, old wage slips, or old credit or debit cards, make sure you dispose of them correctly. This means destroying them so that no one else can take the information they contain and use it. Shred letters with personal data on them, and cut up credit cards, making sure you cut through the chip on the front, so that there’s no way they can be used again. You could even put bits of the destroyed data in different places so that there’s no chance of the information being pieced together again.

5. Check your bank account regularly – keep track of everything you spend money on and check your bank statements on a regular basis. If you spot anything you don’t recognise, even if it’s just a few pence, query it immediately.

6. Check credit history – make sure you know your credit history and if you see anything suspicious, like missed payments for things you don’t recognise, check it out. You can view your credit history for free using Noddle.

7. Don’t put your life on social media – we do love to share but be careful about what you’re sharing. For instance, it’s a good idea to keep your birthday and location secret. Don’t tell people when you’re going to be away, and it’s advisable not to accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

While following these rules won’t keep you 100% safe, they do mean that you are doing all you can to keep your details secure, which is the most anyone can ask for. So should an incidence of fraud arise, you can be certain you’ve done as much as you can to prevent it.