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Stop criminals applying for credit in your name

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Should a cybercriminal get hold of your data, this information could be used to apply for credit in your name. In fact, is not unusual for an individual who has had their data stolen to find that someone goes on to apply for various finance such as bank accounts, credit cards, mobile phones and online shopping using their stolen credentials. If someone does manage to steal your identity, they could even apply for a passport in your name. Ultimately this form of credit fraud could lead to your finances, credit rating and reputation being harmed.

To make matters worse, in some cases when an individual tries to check their credit record following suspected fraud, they may find that they are unable to because the scammer has already opened an account in their name.

As a result, the real-life impact of identity theft can be devastating. It can have a significant effect on you financially, mentally and physically. For some people, the results can include a lack of sleep, feeling ill, unsettled or confused. Stress can also affect your friends, family and job. So it's vital that you do everything you can to protect yourself.

Top tips to protect your from credit fraud

  • Regularly check your credit record to see if there are any searches that you don't recognise
  • Keep an eye on your bank and credit card statements to see if there is anything you don't recognise
  • Let the credit reference agencies/lenders know of any activity that was not down to you
  • Ask the credit agencies to put a 'Notice of Correction' on your account until the issue is sorted
  • If you receive any suspicious mail (e.g. bills or statements) contact that specific lender directly to let them know you didn't open the account
  • Register with the Cifas protective registration service. This will slow down credit applications made in your name with additional verification checks made to ascertain that the applicant is actually you
  • Don't respond to cold calls or emails as these could be phishing attempts. Phishing happens when a fraudster contacts you and try to get you to give them information. Never click suspicious links in emails or download attachments from unknown emails
  • Destroy/shred unwanted mail to stop fraudsters getting their hands on your personal information
  • Make sure your home WIFI is secure and be careful when using public WIFI
  • Keep your passwords as secure as possible (and don't reuse the same password for every account).

Furthermore, if you know that your identity has been stolen or otherwise violated, you should consider a credit freeze until the matter is resolved and report any fraud attempts to the police/Action Fraud for advice on what to do next. Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre. It will advise on the steps you need to take and any other organisations you should contact.

Hayes Connor can help

If you have been affected by a data breach and are worried that your data is being used against you, please let us know. We will thoroughly assess the impact the violation has had on you and help you to claim the compensation you deserve.