Personal information should be carefully looked after and protected at all times.
The instances of identity theft are increasing as criminals seek to benefit from your good name.
Criminals steal your personal information and then use it to enable them to apply for such as credit cards and bank accounts or perhaps make unauthorised transactions using your credit card details.
We need to give out our personal information regularly just to conduct our everyday lives. We therefore need to take steps to safeguard it.
Consider the following:
- shred documents that contain personal details before putting them in the bin
- file documents that contain personal information (e.g. passport, credit card or bank statements, utility bills) in a safe place
- don’t leave personal information in ‘portable’ places e.g. in the car or handbags
- be careful about who you give information to. If someone calls asking for your personal information, make sure you identify who they are and why they need it. Satisfy yourself that they are legitimate. Beware of phishing emails where someone emails you masquerading as a trustworthy source and tries to get you to divulge personal, sensitive information
- check your credit file regularly for any odd entries
- check bank and credit card statements for unknown transactions
- use different passwords and PIN numbers for different accounts
- protect you PC with anti-virus and firewall software and protect your email with anti-spam software
- if your mail regularly fails to arrive let the Royal Mail know
- redirect all your mail if you move house. Make sure you let key organisations that hold your personal information know your new address, including the bank, building societies, credit card providers, utility providers, council , DVLA and TV Licensing.
Above all, remember that personal information is precious and it needs to be treated as such.