Identity Theft and Phishing Scams

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What is Identity theft?

Your identity and personal information are valable. Criminals can find out your personal details and use them to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name.

This website has been produced following Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee advice, a collaboration between UK financial bodies, government and the police to combat the threat of identity theft.

This site can help you protect yourself, advises what to do if it happens to you and suggests where to get further help.

How identity thieves get your personal information:

  • They get information from businesses or organisations by:
    • stealing records or information while they're working there
    • bribing an employee who has access to these records
    • hacking into computers to steal electronic records
    • hoodwinking employees in order to gain information from them
  • They may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, gas, electric water and telephone bills and tax information.
  • They may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as "dumpster diving."
  • They may get your credit reports by abusing their employer's authorised access to them, or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legal right to access your report.
  • They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as "skimming." They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.
  • They may steal your wallet or purse.
  • They may complete a "change of address form" to divert your mail to another location.
  • They may steal personal information they find in your home.
  • They may steal personal information from you through email or phone by posing as legitimate companies and claiming that you have a problem with your account. This practice is known as "phishing" online, or pretexting by phone.
       

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