ActionFraud - National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Centre - Call 0300 123 2040

Application fraud

What it is

When an account is opened using fake or stolen documents in your name, using the account to withdraw cash, get credit, or find other ways to defraud you.

Protect yourself

  • Preventing identity theft can prevent application fraud. Know the kind of information that you need to protect.
  • Keep your details private and store sensitive documents in a secure place. If you don’t need a letter or document any more, shred it; don’t just tear it up and put it in the bin.
  • Always keep a close eye on your finances and credit score.

Spot the signs

  • You get letters or emails confirming new cards or loans you didn’t apply for.
  • You’re paying for a subscription or Direct Debit you don’t recognise, such as a contract for a mobile phone you don't own.

How it happens

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft you can become a victim of application fraud; your details are stolen and used to open up a new account in your name.

Fake accounts are usually opened with banks or with credit card companies as a quick way of accessing funds using the victim’s details. But fraudsters can also use details to open accounts elsewhere, such as a mobile phone contract which is then billed in the victim’s name.

Application fraud is different from your account being taken over. In this case, criminals use details to start completely new accounts, whereas a takeover uses accounts that the victim had set up themselves. The difference is that victims may be completely unaware of application fraud, as the account was opened without their knowledge.

How to report it

Report it to us online or call 0300 123 2040 and tell your bank.

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