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Identity theft
« on: November 30, 2005, 06:33:04 am »
The latest Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter raises the issue of identity theft. Here is the extract. The newsletter can be read in full by clicking here.

Quote

You might become of victim of identity theft if:

    * You have lost or had stolen important documents such as your passport or driving licence
    * Post expected from your bank has not arrived or you are receiving no post at all
    * Items have appeared on your bank or credit-card statements that you do not recognise
    * You applied for state benefit but are told that you are already claiming
    * You receive bills and invoices addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for
    * You have been refused a financial service, such as a credit card or a loan, despite good credit history
    * A mobile-phone contract has been set up in your name without your knowledge
    * You have received letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours.

How to protect yourself - security tips

    * Get a copy of your personal credit file from a credit reference agency such as Callcredit plc (www.callcredit.plc.uk), Equifax Plc (www.equifax.co.uk) or Experian Ltd (www.experian.co.uk)
    * When you move house, consider having your post redirected for at least a year
    * Inform your bank, credit-card company and other organisations of your moving
    * If you don't receive your post, contact Royal Mail to see if a redirection has been made on your name.

Credit and debit cards

    * Cancel any lost or stolen credit/debit cards
    * Always keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call
    * Be careful when using your personal information that no one can overhear/see what you do.

Look after your personal documents

    * Keep your personal documents safe; and consider storing valuable financial documents (such as share certificates) with your bank
    * If your passport or driving licence has been lost/stolen, contact immediately the organisation that issued it
    * Don't casually throw away bills, receipts, credit/debit card slips etc. Destroy them instead
    * Check statements as soon as they arrive.

Password tips

    * Never give personal or account details to anyone
    * A bank will never contact you for your personal identification number (PIN) or for a whole security number or password
    * Don't use the same password for more that one account
    * Never use banking passwords on other websites
    * Use unusual passwords (no date of birth or family name, and mix letters with numbers).

If you think that you are a victim


    * Report lost and stolen documents to the organisation that issued them (passport, driving licence)
    * Consider contacting CIFAS -the UK's Fraud Prevention Service (www.cifas.org.uk)
    * Liaise with your bank to be informed of any suspicious transactions
    * Get a copy of your credit files
    * Report the matter to the police.

Christel Anslow


The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2005, 10:36:45 am »
476 words - are you really David? ;)
 

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2005, 02:40:55 pm »
Seems the word count restriction is not working, although it is set to 300. Not sure why that is. I just copied and pasted from the Neighbourhood Watch newsletter without bothering to count. I thought a message would pop up if a contribution was too long. Ah well, back to the drawing board.
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

Offline Mr Man

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2005, 07:38:43 pm »
As a victim of this in the past, these are my tips on how to avoid getting shafted...

Shred everything...get a decent cross shredder, around £30.

Pay for EVERYTHING on a credit card. Get an American Express card, as you get a good rate of cashback. Even if your credit card gets cloned, it won't be you're bak account they empty.

That's it.
 

Offline speedwell

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2005, 03:19:42 pm »
There is also an organisation called CIFAS (details can be found on the internet) which for a small fee will monitor any applications received in your name, should you be unfortunate enough to get your identity stolen.  This will mean that if you want to apply for a new credit card or store card or buy something from Comet etc additional checks will be taken to ensure you are who you say you are.

 

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2006, 12:02:02 pm »
This has just come in from Herts Constabulary. A timely reminder for all making new financial arrangements as the new school/university terms gets underway.

September 25, 2006
PROTECTING YOUR IDENTITY
By Corporate Communication Dept


HERTFORDSHIRE Constabulary in conjunction with other Eastern Region Police Forces is urging students to think about protecting their identity.

With the new school term and university and college semester’s under way police are educating students about the importance of destroying personal information before it gets into the hands of identity thieves.

Identity theft involves obtaining information about individuals that can then be used to fraudulently make purchases or enter into contracts. Bank and credit card statements, utility bills, driving licenses and computers all contain enough information to ‘clone’ your identity and the methods of deception are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

There are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risks, and Hertfordshire Constabulary is keen to educate students, many of whom are living away from home and setting up their own financial arrangements for the first time.

Roy Aldwin, Manager of the County Community Safety Unit, said: “Protecting your identity is about common sense – storing documents in a secure place, never leaving bills and statements lying around and shredding correspondence with your personal information on it wherever possible.

“We are targeting students as they often unknowingly find themselves the target of this particularly despicable type of offence. Sometimes it can be several days if not months before you find out that it is you who has become the victim, when a letter arrives from a bank or credit card company asking for something you never had.”

The campaign is also being supported by Credit Reference Agency Equifax which is a global specialist in identity protection, providing commercial and consumer online fraud prevention solutions.

Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director for Equifax, said: “The biggest risk to students is that they tend to change accommodation a number of times in the course of their studies.

“Therefore, if they do not redirect their mail, they could fall victim, as a bank statement or a piece of direct mail is often enough information for a fraudster to take a person’s identity and rack up huge amounts of debt in the victim’s name.

“Sadly, a friend, flatmate or ex-partner is just as likely to steal an identity as is a stranger. Prevention is definitely better than cure, so make sure you are taking steps to protect your personal information.”

Police are also reminding people to never write down or give anyone their PIN numbers for their chip and pin cards. It is also important to remember that credit card companies and banks will never ask for your PIN number.

Roy added: “It's unfortunately not possible to prevent identity theft and credit fraud entirely. But, by managing your personal information carefully, and with a full understanding of its importance, you can substantially reduce the likelihood that it will happen to you. The following tips show you how.”

• Be careful about giving out personal information. Whether on the phone, by mail, or on the Internet, never give anyone your credit card number, or other personal information for a purpose you don't understand.
• Protect your post. To stop a thief from going through your rubbish or recycling bin to get your personal information, tear or shred your receipts, credit applications, insurance forms, bank statements, expired charge cards, and credit offers.
• Guard your credit cards. Minimise the information and the number of cards you carry in your wallet. If you lose a card, contact the fraud division of the credit card company. If you apply for a new credit card and it doesn't arrive in a reasonable period, contact the issuer. Watch cashiers when you give them your card for a purchase. Also, when you receive a new card, sign it in permanent ink and activate it immediately.
• Pay attention to billing cycles. Contact creditors immediately if your bills arrive late. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address.
• Safeguard personal information in your student home.
• Be smart about passwords and PINs. Memorise your passwords and personal identification numbers instead of carrying them with you. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
Roy ended by saying: “Not only can victims of identity theft incur financial losses and inconvenience from the crime but the process of restoring their financial reputation, credit rating and incorrect personal information can be expensive, time consuming and stressful.

“It is important that all students take a few simple steps to protect their identity.”
 
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2006, 07:42:40 pm »
Just in from Herts police. Not our area, but bordering and still relevent.

October 17, 2006
AVOID SOMEONE ADOPTING YOUR IDENTITY!
By Corporate Communication Dept


A RECENT spate of thefts of old computers from refuge and recycling tips has enabled fraudsters in the Western Area to commit identity theft by stealing your personal information.

They can easily find information on the hard drive relating to personal information, for example passwords used in internet banking.
The fraudsters also take often take documents from your rubbish or by making contact with you and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation.

Identity fraud is not only committed using stolen paper documents, it also operates over the internet.

Crime Prevention Officer David Mahon said: “Remember carelessly discarding personal details is an easy way to become a victim of identity theft.”
The following tips will help to protect your identity and prevent criminals from committing fraud in your name:

• Don’t throw away entire bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or unwanted post. Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder.
• If you receive an email purporting to be from your bank or credit card provider which asks you to update your details, it is likely to be a scam. If in doubt call your bank.
• With regards to computers, if possible either remove the hard drive from your PCs before recycling or use commercial erasing software to wipe the hard drive.
• Check statements as soon as they arrive. If any unfamiliar transactions are listed, contact the company concerned immediately.
 
The Brookmans Park Newsletter has been supporting the village and our local community since 1998 by providing free, interactive tools for all to use.
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2006, 09:27:36 am »
If you're disposing of a computer I recommend that you securely erase the hard drive first.

A good, free utility is available at http://www.killdisk.com/

Run this a couple of times at least, ideally 7 if you want to reach US DoD standards.

Even if you are giving this to someone else to use, I'd recommend you do this before reloading the OS (ie Windows XP or whatever the computer came with).

Alternatively if you're dumping the computer I'd recommend removing the hard drive and taking a large hammer to it.

 

John_fraser

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2006, 04:09:25 pm »
A word of warning should you decided to dissect a hard disk. Inside you will find a number of platters, on which the data is stored. The platters can be made of metal or glass (coated in a magnetic material). The glass disks will shatter in a reasonably impressive manner if you exert a strong force on them e.g. hitting them with a hammer. I don’t know how to tell if it’s glass or metal, other than by trying to bend the platter or hitting it hard. Be warned if you do this, it certainly makes sure that the data is unreadable but (unless you have the foresight to do this inside a plastic bag) the glass goes everywhere and you will be frantically trying to hover up the mess before you wife gets home - or so I’m told.
 

Max

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2006, 10:15:29 am »
When I finally got around to updating my old desktop a little over a year ago, I simply removed my old hard disk and stuck it in my new computer. No-one can get my data from it, plus I saved myself the bother of having to re-install lots of programs.

From John's post below, I would recommend anyone wiping out a hard disk in the manner described to wear safety glasses too. Get a shard of glass in your eye and a mess on the carpet will be the least of your worries!

 
 

Offline sasquartch

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2006, 10:27:48 am »
Quote
I simply removed my old hard disk and stuck it in my new computer

Most new computers use SATA interface disks, so an old EIDE disk generally won't be usable in a new computer.

A good way to re-use an old disk is to buy a USB disk caddy - these are available for £10-15 and are an enclosure that mounts the disk with a USB interface. Makes a useful portable hard drive, and as Max rightly points out, your data stays with you.
 

John_fraser

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Re: Identity theft
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2006, 11:42:19 am »
I simply removed my old hard disk and stuck it in my new computer. No-one can get my data from it, plus I saved myself the bother of having to re-install lots of programs.

I've found that on UNIX this works very well and at work we have often upgraded hardware quickly by doing exactly this. I believe that Windows is very different. Although I’ve never tried it, I have been told that you can’t take your boot disk (i.e. the disk holding the windows OS) out of one pc, insert it in a second and use it to boot Windows on the second PC without having to reinstall windows. You could – and should – use the disk as a second disk in your new computer, but I doubt that the applications on it would work without reinstallation.
 

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