Identity theft is big business with millions being hit every year by scams where they reveal personal details such as passwords, and then the criminals steal the identity to commit all sorts of frauds. With the right information, they are able to raise loans, withdraw money, make payments from your bank account and much more.
It seems that a significant number of the victims are from America and the UK and although the scamming methods vary, they all rely on a criminal assuming a stolen ID.
No one can guarantee 100% that it will never happen to you but there are tools on the market that will reduce the risk dramatically.
This protection starts with access to your credit reports with alerts being issued immediately if any searches are made, if your address is changed, any accounts are opened in your name or your national insurance number is used fraudulently. If your name shows up in any court records or on the sex offender register, you will be notified straight away. Social media will be scanned for fake accounts with your details too. If you do become the victim of ID theft, this package comes with a team of people who will help get your life back in order.
IdentityForce will cost you around £15 per month but does come with almost £1 million in insurance to replace any money that is stolen from you.
For anyone that is UK based and just want to be able to keep on eye on their credit report, Noddle is a good free bit of tech. The downside is that it is only updated every 30 days and ion that time several searches could have been made and money borrowed in your name. However, for just £20 a year they will inform you every time this happens.
Compared to many others ID theft tools it is very basic, but then you are paying a lot less for a cover that is as good as some that will charge you a lot more.
Of course, when identity theft occurs it is not always just the person the ID has been stolen from that loses out. There could be loan companies that do not get repaid, goods ordered that are never paid for and a whole host of situations that have been carried out in your name.
Many businesses get Netverify from Jumio and that is the answer for them. Using the latest technology, this system combines ID verification with document verification to establish the real-world identity of consumers. It will integrate into the user’s website and supports many different languages. This means that someone from abroad trying to steal your identity is unlikely to be unsuccessful if the business they are trying to deal with uses Netverify.
Promoted by its developers as true identity protection, ID watchdog detects things going on in your name if you are an active customer. Based on checking court records, your credit report and anywhere else your name could be used fraudulently, this system offers a similar package to IdentityForce, as many of these ID theft protection programs do.
The Big Three
The big three credit report companies also offer protection packages and they will all issue security alerts if any odd activity makes them suspicious. These alerts can prevent a loan application from being processed, but there is no guarantee that a creditor will stop the approval of a transaction because of them.
The only way to do that is to put a freeze on your reports, although you must do this with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion for it to be effective. In each case, they will charge a small fee, around £20, but then no one can access your credit report without your permission. This is often considered to be the best protection against ID theft, but it can be time-consuming to get it lifted and put back while you make genuine transactions yourself.
Protecting Your ID
Some of the best protection is the things you can do yourself to reduce the risk of your ID being stolen. Never leave online bank accounts or apps opens, and change the passwords on them frequently. In fact, you should change all your passwords on a regular basis, and never have them written down or saved on your computer.
Details such as your National Insurance number should not be left lying around. If you get emails saying they are from your bank do not open them, as banks do not generally make contact that way. If ever they do, they will not ask you any personal details. Don’t fall for the scams that say ‘we have realised we owe you some money, just give us your bank details and we will pay it to you’ or that you have won some money.
They are all just ways of scammers finding as much as they can so that they can steal your identity.