In the latest Police Commanders Bulletin, people living in Highland Perthshire are being warned about the risks of identity theft.
Identity theft is when criminals gain access to someone’s personal information and then use the information to steal the victim’s identity. Once the criminal has this information, they can proceed to open bank accounts, get credit cards, file for a loan or mortgage, and steal benefits.
If they obtain certain information, they may also have the ability to take over someone’s bank account and change information such as their address.
These fraudsters work in many different ways, a few ways they work are by:
- Going through rubbish to find bills or bank statements
- Target flats that have shared letterboxes (which makes stealing post easier)
- Bribing or robbing postal workers or purchasing information from other criminals
- Searching through unattended bags
There are a number of steps that you can take to avoid having your identity stolen, these include:
- Keeping all your important documents safe and secure
- When using a credit or debit card, make sure its never out of your sight
- Be aware that some cash machines may have been tampered with. If you use a tampered machine you may have your card skimmed and cloned
- Never give out your personal details when you’re contacted by phone, fax, post or email
- Always offer to ring back any suspicious callers, but check the phone number you are given
- When throwing out documents that contain personal information, try to shred them so that nobody can read your personal details
- Always check your debit and credit card statements. Report any transactions you don’t recognise, even small amounts
- Close all accounts you no longer need
- Move your mail when moving home by arranging with the post office to forward your mail to your new address
- Get organisations to send to your new address
If you happen to fall victim to one of these scams, there are a few warning signs you may notice:
- If you get bills or invoices for goods you have not ordered.
- If you get collection letters for debt that isn’t yours or
- There are transactions on your bank or credit card statements that you do not recognise
- Important documents such as your passport or driving licence may have been stolen
If you notice any of these warning signs, don’t delay with getting help by:
- Contacting your bank or building society
- Keep a record of all communication
- Report the matter to the police and note the crime reference number
- Request a copy of your credit report (such as Equifax or Experian) – you can ask for incorrect information to be removed
To read the full Commanders Bulletin, visit: https://www.pkc.gov.uk/