Recently my sister had been a victim of identity fraud; someone has pretended to be her and scammed two of her friend by selling them mobile call cards. This type of fraud seems to be very common now a day and could happen to everyone. It is very prostrating when you become a victim as you and your bank can end up with a bill and you are accused of something you did not do. Another big scam that has just been release on the news was the Haiti Earthquake Scams online, they have been asking for donations and the money goes into their pocket, not to the Haiti victims. Anyway, it’s always best to be aware of fraud and scam situations going on, so you might consider these safety tips I found on a government website, this will help you stay safe from these common problems.
Top tips: how to stay safe from ID theft
Using just a few of your personal details, criminals can apply for bank accounts, credit cards, benefits and official documents in your name.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe.
To stay safe online:
• delete suspicious-looking emails without opening them
• keep a good firewall on your home computer
• don't use the same password on all websites
• refuse to give personal information to any company that emails or calls you unexpectedly
• keep your credit card within view when paying at restaurants or shops
• don't respond to emails that seem to be from your bank asking you to 're-enter' your personal details; your bank will not ask you to do that
• don't buy online unless you see the golden padlock on the payments page, and a web address beginning with 'https'
• install all security updates and 'patches' offered by your computer software company
To stay safe offline:
• shred all personal information before throwing it away in your rubbish; this includes bank statements, anything containing National Insurance details, salary information, even old membership cards
• tear off and destroy the name and address on the envelopes you receive before throwing them away
• never give out your personal information when you could be overheard
• don't leave personal documents visible in your home; keep them somewhere safe
• tell your utility company and local authority (for Council Tax and electoral register) when you move house
• keep your banking and credit card PIN numbers safe - no bank will ever phone you to ask for your PIN
• make sure your letterbox is secure, and that post can get through and fall safely to the floor
• if you live in a shared building, ask your bank if you can pick up new debit cards or cheque books at your branch
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