ID fraud and scams can happen to anyone, but our straightforward advice can help you reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
Identity theft, when cybercriminals steal your personal information to impersonate you for financial gain, can seem both frightening and impossible to defend against.
But the steps needed to safeguard your personal data, and reduce your chances of being victimised, are actually very straightforward.
Here’s what you need to know.
Be wary of sudden and urgent requests
Legitimate organisations such as banks, retailers and government authorities (e.g. the Inland Revenue) will never contact you out-of-the-blue, asking you to confirm or divulge your personal details.
Any communications – emails, texts or calls – pressing you to give up your details on a deadline, due to an alleged emergency or some other event, should be viewed with extreme suspicion. These are commonly known as ‘phishing’ attacks.
If in doubt, hang up or close that app and get in touch with the organisation directly using details from their official website.
The same caution should be applied to sudden requests from friends and family. It’s increasingly common for cybercriminals to impersonate specific individuals, as we’re naturally primed to trust people we already know.