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Identity Theft

By admin • Nov 3rd, 2017 • Category: Credit Cards

Identity theft is the fastest growing type of fraud in the UK today. So what is it?

Fundamentally, it is what it sounds like: somebody pretends to be you. Often the first thing you will know about it is when a bailiff turns up at your door demanding you repay the thousands of pounds you owe!

But identity fraud isn’t just about somebody pretending to be you. The fraudsters have access to the same technology that we all have (if not more so) and can easily pretend to be a financial institution on the Internet and you would never know. But you can take some steps to protect yourself.

What are you looking at?

Phishing’ is the practice by fraudsters of creating false websites so they look exactly like the genuine article. They can be used to obtain personal financial information from people who are enticed to visit those sites. Usually the targeted person will receive an email suggesting that their financial information has been breached. The email asks them to click on an embedded link to visit the false site to confirm their details. In so doing they are of course making the security breach happen.

What can I do about it?

If you ever receive an email suggesting that your financial or security details have been compromised, even if it’s from a company that you have dealings with, NEVER click on any link or go to any of the pages the email suggests. If you are in any doubt, contact the finance company by telephone and ask them about the request.

Once upon a time

Credit card theft can happen just as easily in real life as it can in cyberspace, so there is no need to become paranoid about using your credit card online. You do, however, need to be careful and think about how you use it.

These days nearly all credit card companies offer protection from fraudulent use. So if your card details are stolen on the internet the credit card company will usually absorb the cost of the fraudulent items, as long as you can prove them to be the work of somebody else without your knowledge.

If you ever suspect you may have revealed you financial details to somebody with malicious intent, notify the credit card company immediately and they will put a stop on your account and issue you with a new card and new account details. This is a minor inconvenience to them and it is far better to be safe than sorry.

On-going battle

Credit card companies have introduced measures to try to counter credit card fraud. The security code on the strip above your signature on the back is an example, as is the use of Chip and Pin cards.

If you prefer not to use your credit card online but still want to buy things on the internet then many sites operate using payment intermediaries such as PayPal. But beware, even these aren’t without their fraudster hangers-on and you need to look after your PayPal account details just as much as you do those of your credit card!

Under lock and key

Whenever you’re entering your financial details into a website always check on your browser that a small “lock” symbol is showing, usually in the bottom right hand corner. This indicates that the site is encrypted and at least offers some protection to you as a user.

Be wise be safe

When people first sign up to the Internet they inevitably experience a period of wide eyed wonder at it all. Some become so amazed by it that they accept whatever they see as genuine.

A seasoned user will often be far more sceptical about a many of the things they find on the Internet. After all, how many people do you know actually respond to that email from Nigeria asking if they may borrow your bank account!

More Information:

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