Protect Your Identity
The document entitled 'Who are You?' has been developed in conjunction with the NUS and contains some basic advice and guidance for students on protecting your identity.
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.