Action Fraud is urging people not to ignore letters for items or services they haven’t taken out.
There has recently been an increase of reports from people receiving letters for a loan that needs to be repaid – the loan is in fact taken out by a fraudster who has stolen the victim’s identity.
Identity theft is a serious crime. If people ignore letters about goods or services they haven’t requested they could end up in debt, with bailiffs on their doorstep and a poor credit rating.
Fraudsters can use your identity details to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits, order goods in your name or even obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.
If you have lost money to a fraud, please contact Action Fraud as soon as possible. Action Fraud takes crime reports from victims of fraud and provides them with a crime reference number. This information is then fed to the NFIB – run by the City of London Police - for analysis and possible police action.
Action Fraud also provides a wide range of information on how a person can protect themselves from fraudsters.
There are some simple rules everyone can all follow to help protect against identity theft:
- don’t throw out anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first
- check your statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the financial institution concerned
- if you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company
- don’t leave things like bills lying around for others to look at
- get regular copies of your credit report from a credit reference agency.
- if you move house, always get Royal Mail to redirect your post
- don’t ignore bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven't bought or services you haven't asked for – contact the company immediately
- don’t stay silent. If you’ve been targeted by a fraudster and lost money, report it to Action Fraud.
To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.