How ID thieves target High Net Worth Individuals
There were more than 100,000 cases in the UK last year where identity thieves used somebody else’s personal details to obtain products or services.
80% of identity theft now happens online
Identity theft is still one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK and High Net Worth individuals could be particularly vulnerable.
Research by data and analytics firm Experian reveals that wealthy couples are the second most frequently targeted demographic for identity theft. The research also reveals that identity fraud victims are being targeted from more affluent towns in the vicinity of the UK’s major cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and London. Research shows wealthy couples were particularly likely to be targeted for credit card fraud or fraudulent loan applications.
How identity thieves work?
To assume somebody else’s identity, criminals will seek to acquire multiple pieces of personal information, for example credit cards details, home addresses and passwords.
Identity thieves will use various routes to acquire the information they need, it is estimated around 80% of identity theft now happens online: however, criminals don’t necessarily have to hack into individuals computers to obtain personal information.
There are various avenues thieves will use:
- Tricking people into giving away personal information via email or website phishing scams
- Scouring an individuals social media accounts to find useful personal information such as their date of birth or other personal identifiers
- Tricking people into divulging personal information over the phone, or in response to letter scams
- Stealing items of ID, such as passports and driving licences
- Searching through discarded rubbish in the hope of finding paperwork such as bank statements or credit card applications
How can you minimise your risk of ID theft?
Preventing identity theft requires a combination of online and physical security measures.
Online measures you should take to prevent ID theft are to:
- Never divulge private information in response to a request via an email or website, unless they are certain the request is from a legitimate source
- Use a password that is difficult to guess and change it regularly
- Avoid sharing too much personal information on social media
- Be wary of phishing scams
- Avoid using shared public P.C’s to access internet banking
- Only use reputable websites to purchase goods/services
Physical security measures you should take to prevent ID theft are to:
- Securely file sensitive documents, and shred those they no longer need
- Arrange for paperless bills and statements where possible
- Redirect mail when they move home
- Be aware of people who may be looking over their shoulder when entering passwords or PINs into a computer of ATM
- When travelling, lock their passports, driving licences and other items of identification in a safe when they are not required
If you are concerned about identity theft or would just like to know more then please get in touch with us for an informal chat. Please call Pat Towers at Russell Scanlan on 0115 983 8813.