Warning as ID theft on the rise in North East

 

A spate of wheelie bin robberies in the North East has led the Police to issue a warning to residents about the dangers of identity theft. 

Numerous instances of bins being displaced from their storage area and contents being rummaged through have been reported to police. 

Officers are concerned that this has been carried out by criminal gangs in order to gain personal details to aid identity fraud. 

Criminals can use information such as someone’s name, date of birth, bank details or current and previous addresses to commit fraud. 

They can open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits or order goods in the name of the victim. 

Fraudsters can also take over existing accounts, take out mobile phone contracts or in some cases obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in the name of their victims. 

A statement from police warned north-east residents to “ensure you safely dispose of all items of mail/paperwork by shredding to prevent this happening to you.” 

Identity fraud is now the fastest growing crime in the UK, and analysts expect it to rise further as the impact of Covid continues to be felt. Levels of fraud are proven to surge during times of economic stress.  

Warnings are also in place for the recently bereaved in terms of protecting the identities of the deceased since deceased identity fraud – when a criminal steals the personal details of someone that has passed away to commit fraud – is also on the rise. The bereaved are advised to: 

  • Limit the amount of personal information shared about the deceased in newspaper and online obituaries 
  • Close social media accounts 
  • Notify the banks and financial institutions of the death as soon as possible 
  • Send copies of the death certificate to credit reporting agencies asking them to put a “deceased alert” on the deceased’s credit report 
  • Review the deceased person’s credit report for questionable credit card activity every quarter 
  • If donating clothes or bags to charity, ensure pockets are empty 
  • Have the deceased person’s post redirected 
  • Ensure all documents that are being disposed of are shredded before being recycled 
  • Register the deceased person on The Deceased Preference Service www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk to have their name removed from organisations’ mailing lists. 

For consumers it is important to be aware of the risks and follow advice to limit the chance of falling victim to identity fraudsters. For organisations it is important to help protect customers by putting processes into place that help identity ID fraud as it happens, cutting fraudsters off at the source.  

For information on how we can help organisations identity deceased ID fraud please get in touch.