Some key bullet points are listed below:
- Keep your personal documents secure; always finely shred no longer needed documents which contain personal information before throwing them away/recycling the paper.
- Always report lost or stolen documents quickly to the police and issuing organisation.
- Avoid putting data sensitive personal information that would enable people who don’t know you to identify you and use your information either to harass you or steal your identity on social networking sites such as Facebook/MySpace/Bebo.
- Keep your computer protected by current anti-virus software and do regular checks on its integrity.
- Do not open email attachments if you do not know or trust the originator of the email & do not respond to emails if you do not know or trust the originator of the email.
- Password protect your documents; do not choose passwords that would be easy to guess, and keep them all safe.
Protect your bank account:
- Emails/mail from around the world are sent on a daily basis either asking for help to access funds left by a deceased relative urging the recipient to email/post their bank details – it is best to simply delete these emails no matter how pleading they make them sound, and certainly NEVER email back with your bank account details; emails/mail from around the world are sent on a daily basis stating that you have won a monetary prize or won the lottery urging you to reply with your bank details to access this prize - it is best to ignore this correspondence unless you have genuinely entered the particular competition.
- Emails are sent out from people purporting to be legitimate banks with queries on your account. If you do not bank online, or are in any doubt that this not a genuine email do not answer it; go into your local branch to sort the matter out.
- Under NO circumstances should you ever give your PIN to anyone – neither the bank or the police ever require this information so, e.g., if you have lost or had your bank card(s) stolen, and someone contacts you purporting to be from the police or the bank and they ask you for the PIN it is probably the person who has your card illegally contacting you!
- Keep your PIN separate to your bank card.
- Avoid purchasing items online unless you are sure that you are buying from a secure encrypted site.
- If you believe that you someone has accessed your bank account without your authority you must report this immediately to your bank to stop further transactions, and they will also advise you to contact the police for a crime number.
- Apply for regular credit checks (there are currently 3 companies who can do this, but you need to check all 3 : Call Credit; Equifax; Experian (external links).
- When using cash points try to use the ones located within the branch, and always cover over the buttons when inputting your PIN to avoid someone seeing or an illegally placed camera recording it.
Dodgy Goods: 'If something seems to good to be true, it usually is….'
- 'Laptop for sale': members of the public including students have been approached by individuals in a car and asked if they want to buy a laptop; they are shown a laptop and once they have paid for it (normally between £200-400 cash - offenders will offer to take people to their cashpoints!), they are then given a laptop bag containing either bottles of water or fizzy drink.
- Be careful when buying items from websites e.g. eBay, or second hand shops as you could be buying stolen goods. Check how much the seller knows about the origination of the product before buying it; also check to see if it has been property marked.
What is Internet Fraud?
The internet is now being used as another tool to commit fraud. The most well known form of internet fraud is committed on auction sites, but can also include the fraudulent purchase of any goods over the internet.
How is Internet Fraud committed?
Auction site fraud can include the purchase of goods by an innocent victim which are never delivered or when a stolen credit card is used to make a purchase from an innocent seller. Another method used is one where fraudsters set up a website, which is false, proclaiming to sell items, accept payments and then do not dispatch the goods. An example is the fraudulent sale of tickets for music concerts or sporting events.
What can you do to prevent becoming victim?
The use of secure payments systems, such as PayPal, limit the chance of becoming a victim when using auction sites or generally when purchasing goods over the internet.
If possible use credit cards when purchasing items on the internet as they are a more secure payment method.
Always use official and secure websites.
Always check the rating of the sellers before bidding on auction websites to ensure they have a positive selling history.
Ensure when completing your personal and financial details on the payment page of the website that there is a yellow pad lock icon at the bottom of the page.
What do I do if I become a victim?
If you think your card has been used fraudulently over the internet, please contact the bank, building society or credit card company where the account is held.
If you have purchased goods from an auction site where payment has been made but the goods have not been delivered, please contact the auction site and your local police station (details can be found on the contact us page)
Search for your local area using the postcode search below:
Find out about crime levels in your neighbourhood
- police.uk (external site)