Five top tips to help you stay safe from identity theft scammers

Millions of people in the UK have had their identities stolen by fraudsters because they fail to take basic security measures to protect their sensitive information.

A report from Action Fraud, the national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre, reveals that more than 12 million people - one in four adults - have fallen victim to crooks stealing their personal data.

That’s an astonishing statistic. It demonstrates just how active identity thieves have become.

And the reality is - anybody could be targeted. Yes, vulnerable people can be particularly susceptible, or example elderly people living on their own.

But interestingly, more and identify thieves are looking to defraud young people - those between 18-25, who are applying for their first job, opening a bank account or organising their student loans.

We are all at risk. So, here are my top tips to help avoid being scammed by identity fraudsters:

1. Take care when you share. Personal information is the currency of the fraudster.Make sure you are not overheard when you are buying something over the phone. Someone could be making a note of your credit card number. Your date of birth is also a hugely valuable piece of information. So no lists of employee birthdays on the office wall. And try to keep your holiday plans to yourself as much as possible. Identity thieves love to build up a picture of your plans and preferences.

2. Keep your documents safe. Don’t leave personal documents in the car. Store everything securely at all times and destroy old bank statements – ideally using a shredder.

3. Make your passwords stronger. Too many people still use just one password for everything. Fraudsters love that. Make it nigh on impossible for them by using a variety of complex passwords with a mix of numbers, symbols and upper-case/lower-case letters. Some brilliant advice on how to create strong passwords can be found here.

4. Be wary about signing things. Crooks would be delighted to have a copy of your signature. Try to make sure everything you sign is absolutely bona fide. If in doubt, just put your initials.

5. Keep yourself up to date with the latest scams. Visit www.bt.com/scams regularly. There you will find regularly updated information and some great downloadables designed to help you stay safe and know exactly what to do if you are scammed.

BT is determined to help in the fight against identity thieves and scammers. We are working with bodies like Cifas (leaders in fraud prevention), the Police and others to help educate people – especially those who might be more vulnerable to identity crime.

Plus we have products and services available such as BT NetProtect (for BT Broadband customers) which guards against phishing as well as our Advance Nuisance Call Blocker phone which helps to reduce the number of nuisance calls.

Find out more information about how BT can help you to protect yourself online at www.bt.com/help/security

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