Your identity and personal information are valuable so it's
important to protect them.
Criminals can use your personal details to open bank accounts and
get credit cards, passports and driving licences in your
This is known as identity crime.
Identity theft and identity fraud are two types of identity
Identity theft is when someone gains enough information about an
identity (e.g, name, date of birth, address) to commit identity
fraud. It's the misappropriation of the identify of another person
without their knowledge or consent.
Identity fraud occurs when a stolen identity is used to
gain goods or services by deception e.g, open a bank account, gain
benefits or apply for credit cards.
Criminals commit identity theft by stealing personal information,
usually from documents they find in the rubbish.
A stolen identity can result in identity fraud which can
affect your personal finances and chances of getting a loan, credit
card or mortgage.
Identity Theft, a
website put together by a number of public and private sector
bodies, has lots of tips to help keep your personal
information safe, but here are a few to get you started:
Bank and credit cards
- If any of your cards are lost or stolen, cancel them straight
away and never give card details or personal information over
the phone or on the internet when other people can see or
- Don't carry cards unnecessarily. If you don't need them, leave
them in a safe place.
- If your driving licence is lost or stolen, contact the issuing
organisation straight away.
- Get in the habit of checking your bank statements. If you
spot any transactions you didn't expect, contact the company
- Destroy unwanted documents using a shredder. Don't throw away
bills, bank statements, receipts or unwanted post in your name
without shredding it first.
- Keep personal information somewhere safe like a lockable drawer
Passwords and PINs
Keep passwords safe and don't store them anywhere that means they
may be stolen such as your purse or on your mobile phone.
- Try not to use the same password for more than one
- Never give personal or account details to anyone who contacts
you unexpectedly even if they claim to be from your bank or
the police. Take a phone number and call them back to
make sure they are genuine. Remember a bank will never ask for your
PIN or your whole password.
- If you move home, ask Royal Mail to redirect your post to your
- If you think your post is going missing or being stolen, report
it to Royal Mail on 0845 740 740.
- Be careful if you live in a property where other people could
have access to your post. If you are having new bank cards
delivered you may want to make arrangements to collect them at the
bank rather than having them delivered.
Fraud is a crime so, if you think you’ve experienced it, we
would encourage you to report it.
Many fraud offences must now be reported direct to Action
Fraud, the UK's national fraud-reporting centre run by the
National Fraud Authority.
You'll find more information on our reporting fraud page.