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How to Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft and Fraud .


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Identity Theft Security UK

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IDENTITY THEFT SECTION UK

Before you buy

Before you buy anything online make a note of the address of the company that you are buying from. This should include details of the telephone and/or fax - never rely on just an email address.

Always use secure sites

These sites have 'https' in front of the web address which indicates that the company has been independently checked to make sure they are who they say they are. A yellow padlock symbol will appear in the browser window to show the payment process is secure.

More tips

  • when transferring money use reliable firms
  • never transfer or receive money for someone else
  • check the sites' privacy and returns policy
  • print out a copy of your order and any acknowledgement you receive
  • check your bank statement carefully against anything you buy online
  • keep your passwords secure

Viruses

Viruses are destructive software that can run on your computer without you knowing. They spread through the internet and emails by copying themselves to documents and programs on your computer. Viruses can cause damage by deleting files and can allow criminals to monitor your computer and steal personal information. They can slow down your computer and take days to remove.

Spy-ware

Spy-ware is software that's often downloaded with other software, like music sharing software. It can allow criminals to scan your computer for information stored on it, install pop up advertisements, and let viruses through.

Botnets

A botnet is a network of virus-infected computers that are used together and can be remotely controlled. The attacker can then have access to the computers and use them for malicious activities such as sending spam. All this can be done without the users of the computer knowing what is happening.

Many tips on buying on the internet are the same as for buying from a shop, such as:

  • Shop around. That great deal might well be on offer somewhere else - and cheaper.
  • Use retailers and services you know about - or ones that have been personally recommended to you.

But there are also extra things to remember when shopping online:

  • A company might have a great website, but that doesn't mean it's law-abiding.
  • Make sure you know the trader's full address - especially if the company is based outside the UK. The internet makes buying from abroad easy so it’s important you know your rights.
  • Don't assume an internet company is based in the UK just because its web address has 'uk' in it - check out the physical address and phone number.
  • Take into account the shipping, postage and packing costs. Weigh them up against the parking and travelling costs you would have to pay if you went to the high street.
  • Although shopping from overseas websites is relatively safe it may be difficult to enforce your contract if things go wrong. If the item or service is over £100 then consider paying by credit card.
  • Look for websites that have a secure way of paying (known as an encryption facility) - these show a padlock at the bottom of the screen when you are filling in the payment details.
  • Check whether the company has a privacy statement that tells you what it will do with your personal information.

Look for firms that are part of an independent approval scheme. These are companies that have signed up to particular standards. These include measures to:

  • Protect your privacy.
  • Ensure your payments are secure.
  • Let you know what you've agreed to.
  • Tell you how to cancel orders.
  • Deliver goods or services within agreed timescales.
  • Protect children.
  • Sort out complaints - regardless of where you live.

Please note: There are many different trader approval schemes worldwide - so check out what their particular approval means.

Recognising and dealing with internet fraud

You may be the victim of internet fraud if:

  • you have paid for an item online and it does not arrive
  • you sell something online and you don't receive payment
  • the item you receive doesn't match the original description you were given

If you think you have been conned:

  • check with the company you dealt with to see if you can resolve the problem
  • if you have a problem with an item bought or sold using on an auction site, like eBay, check with them to see if they can do anything about it
  • if you paid for goods using a credit card and the goods did not arrive you can ask the credit card company to investigate
  • if you used an online payment service, check if you are covered by a fraud protection scheme on the service website

You have the same rights buying online as over the phone or by mail order. You can find out more on the Consumer Direct website and this helpline: 08454 04 05 06, or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Schemes to watch out for

The internet provides criminals with an easy way to contact thousands of people at a time. Examples include, emails offering the chance to take part in money making schemes, or claiming you are the winner of a prize draw.

You can avoid being a victim of internet fraud by:

  • remembering - if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is
  • taking your time making decisions that involve parting with money
  • getting independent financial advice before making investments
  • only doing business with companies that you recognise or know of by recommendation by someone you trust - don't judge a company on how 'professional' their website looks
  • if in any doubt, you can check a company is genuine by looking them up on Companies House or the Financial Services Authority websites - if they are they will be registered

Identity theft

If personal details like your address, passport number and National Insurance number are stolen they can be used to set up online accounts, apply for credit cards and even apply for benefits in your name without you knowing.

Criminals may try to get your credit card details by sending emails that appear to be from a reputable online organisation like a bank or credit card company. They encourage you to enter your credit card details or password on a fake website.


More useful links

 


All of our information is kindly acquired from DirectGov UK which is the UK Government Industry leader on information regarding Identity Fraud.

For more information you can view Direct Gov UK's Website HERE......

If you would like to see anything of interest, or to advertise on this section, please contact one of our expert team HERE.........

Regards

The SW Team..........

 

ACTION FRAUD NEWS AND SCAMS (UK GOVERNMENT)