Television


About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

5 ways your identity can be stolen

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

This week is National Identity Fraud Prevention Week 2009

According to a study carried out by Fellowes Ireland:

. 92% of people consider themselves to be at risk from identity fraud
. 49% of people don't know the measures to take to prevent ID fraud
. 77% of us throw out information which could be used to steal our identities
. Only 48% of people look in to why expected mail has failed to arrive
. 34% of people do not report lost important documents

James Treacy, Irish Fraud Bureau

Factfile:
. 92% of people consider themselves to be at risk from identity fraud
. 49% of people don't know the measures to take to prevent ID fraud
. 77% of us throw out information which could be used to steal our identities
. 34% of people do not report lost important documents


How can your Identity be stolen?

1. Theft of a handbag or wallet
The average purse or wallet contains bank cards, credit cards and valuable identity documents including driving licenses and membership cards. Victims realise very quickly that their wallet has been stolen but often do not realise the value of the information contained within it until it is too late.

How to protect yourself:
Keep your personal information, credit cards, passwords and pin number in a safe place. Don't carry everything with you and don't share these details with people or companies you don't know. Immediately report lost documents, such as passports or driving licences.


2. Stealing bank statements (Bin Raiding)
Fraudsters go through rubbish bins to retrieve personal information such as bank statements, letters or receipts. Rubbish bins in Ireland are a goldmine for fraudsters as 77% of us throw out information which could be used to steal our identities without shredding it first.

How to protect yourself:
Always shred anything (preferably using a cross-cut shredder) containing personal or financial information like bank and credit card statements, utility bills before throwing away.


3. Unsolicited Contact
Phone calls claiming to be from banks asking you to update your personal information should be regarded with caution. Similarly, fraudsters posing as market researchers may ask for personal information over the phone.

How to protect yourself:
Never give personal information to people calling from companies you have not dealt with before.
Always check the identity of these people by calling them back. Obtain their office number from directory enquiries and then confirm their position with the switchboard before speaking to them. Credible organisations will not mind you double checking their authenticity before providing information.


4. Sending bogus emails (Phishing)
Fraudsters will send an email claiming to be from a bank, a credit card company or other organisation with which you might have a relationship, asking for urgent information. Typically the email will ask you to click on a link to enter your account details on the company's website to protect against fraud or to avoid your account being deactivated. But if you click on the link in the email you will be taken to a website which looks genuine but has in fact been created by fraudsters to trick you into revealing your private information. The fraudsters then use the information provided to set about obtaining money from your accounts.


How to protect yourself:
. If you receive an email that warns, with little or no notice, that an account will be shut down unless you reconfirm billing or security information, don't reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the institution cited in the email using a telephone number or web site address you know to be genuine.
. Use up-to-date anti-virus software.
. Be extra careful if using Internet cafes or any PC which is not your own and over which you have no control.
. If in doubt, a good place to get help and guidance on how to stay safe online is your bank's website.
. Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a web site, look for the 'lock' icon on the browser's status bar. It signals that personal information is secure during transmission


5. Card skimming
This usually occurs when a shop assistant or waiter, for example, gets your information by 'skimming' or copying your credit card information when you make a purchase. They often then sell the information to professional criminal gangs. Like phishing, skimming can be used on its own to collect enough information on your credit card to use your card fraudulently without stealing your entire identity.


How to protect yourself:
. Regularly obtain and check your credit card report, check all financial records as soon as they arrive.
. If you have been a victim of identity fraud involving the use of plastic cards, online banking or cheques, the matter should be reported direct to the financial institution concerned. They will then be responsible for further investigation and, where appropriate, onward reporting to the police. Other incidents should be reported to the relevant organisation and, dependent on their advice, to your local Garda station.

Archive
Go