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The signs you’re at risk of identity theft …and how to prevent it

Identity theft numbers reached a record high in the UK last year with people in their 30s the most targeted group. While the topic of identity theft is unnerving, it’s a harsh reality that can have a direct impact on your personal life and shouldn’t be ignored. 

What can be done to wise up to identity theft and prevent fraud? Yeates is here to help with a handy guide on the steps you can take to protect yourself.

Am I at risk of identity theft and identity fraud?

Did you know that 44% of Britons don’t shred documents containing sensitive information before chucking them in the bin? The reason this is alarming is because identity theft happens when fraudsters are able to access ‘just enough’ information about someone’s identity to commit identity fraud. 

Shockingly, ‘just enough’ information can be anything from your name or date of birth to your current or previous addresses. Fraudsters don’t need much information to get started, so if you’re an avid ‘binner’ it is time to rethink merely chucking away documents with your address on.

What can I do to protect myself against identity fraud?

When you choose to bin old documents, think wisely about the information you’re chucking away. Is it giving away your identity? Correctly disposing of unwanted or no longer needed paperwork such as statements, letters and forms with personal information on is the first step in protecting yourself against identity theft and fraud.

Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, recommends:

  • 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 bank or financial service provider concerned.
  • Don’t leave things like bills lying around for others to look at.
  • If you’re expecting a bank or credit card statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company.
  • If you move house, ask Royal Mail to redirect your post for at least a year.
  • It is particularly helpful to check your personal credit file 2-3 months after you have moved house.

You can read Action Fraud’s full list of recommendations here.

Yeates is a family run firm that has been in operation for over 100 years. To find out more about how our confidential shredding service could help you at home or assist your business call us now on 01275 877900.