Protect your ID to protect your cash: that’s the warning for Leigh folk from police during National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.
The country-wide campaign to alert consumers and businesses to the threat of identity fraud at home and at work is now under way.
According to latest research, although most people are now aware of the threat and risks of identity fraud, the number of victims is still rising as people continue to be careless with their identities. Around seven per cent of the population have been victims of identity fraud.
The average cost of these incidents to each victim is £1,190, but some individuals have lost up to £9,000.
Research shows that:
A quarter of people do not take simple precautions like shredding bills and bank statements before putting them in the bin;
43 per cent of those surveyed did not verify e-mails or calls from organisations before responding;
46 per cent of people would not report a lost driving licence or passport straight away.
Encouragingly, 83 per cent of people check for unfamiliar transactions on bills and statements and 86 per cent of people have security software on their computers.
Det Con Tony McClements, a fraud evaluation and liaison officer, said: “Fraudsters will glean information from dumped or lost documents and use these to steal money from you, so it is really important that you take some simple steps to prevent this from happening.
“Fraud can be under-reported, so while it is important to make sure you do contact police if you think you are a victim it is even more important that you do all you can to stop it happening in the first place.”
Jamey Johnson, head of Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting and advice centre, said: “Stealing an identity is just the beginning for a fraudster.
“With few details, accounts can be taken over, loans can be applied for and purchases can be made, all without the consent or knowledge of the individual, potentially costing the victim substantial sums of money.”