Are you worried about identify theft – the act of criminals obtaining credit (in other words, running up debts) in your name – debts which you are responsible for and appear on your credit rating?
Watch this from the BBC.
Now are you worried?
Think about the stuff you throw away – how much of it has your name, address, bank account number, credit card number (or part of it) on – now think about that reciept from the petrol station – that’s got (part of) your credit card number on it, put it in the same bin as something which just has your address on – and that information that can be put together to identify you.
I’m already in the habit of shredding anything I throw away which has my name, address, or is a receipt. Even just a petrol receipt. If you aren’t – you should get into that habit. Really Quickly.
Also, be wary of phone calls asking for personal information – I had one from a marketing company – “I’m calling on behalf of ****card – are you Mr Marshall, yes, good, can you confirm that by telling me your date of birth and last 4 digits of your card number.” – My answer – “NO, you called me – I have no guarantee you’re from ****card – I’m not giving you personal information”. Her reply – “I can assure you I’m calling from ****card” – no, she wasn’t. The callerID display gave me a number which I called back – it was a marketing company, not my credit card company.
I then called my card suppliers customer services line – it turned out this was a legitimate marketing call – they’d passed my details onto this 3rd party marketing company in order to ask me if I still wanted to be opted out of their junkmail and sales calls. Yes, despite being opted out, they passed me details to another company, and got that company to pretend to be them, call me, lie outright, and try to get me to sign back up to marketing junk.
I will be closing my account as soon as possible – I will not deal with companies that abuse my trust.
Don’t forget the other old favourite scam – “I’m calling from your mobile phone provider – would you like a free upgrade.” – reply is “Who are you calling on behalf of?” – “my mobile phone company?” – “who is my mobile phone company?” – “you don’t know?” – “so how are you calling on their behalf if you don’t even know who they are?”