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Identity theft – understanding the risks

Guide | 03 March 2014

Understanding the risks of identity theft.

Introduction

Throughout our lifetime, we as individuals exchange personal information with a vast number of institutions including banks, credit cards suppliers, utility companies, supermarkets, government organisations and retailers. This may be to receive important services, but also to allow us to do the fun things like shopping, eating out or going on holiday.

Recent alarming stories surrounding identity theft have only further highlighted how valuable our personal information is. Fraudulent or stolen identities being used to make false applications for credit cards or loans, to obtain goods and services, or even to access money or other assets, is naturally something that concerns us all. Worryingly, it is not untypical for a victim to first become aware of this when they receive a letter of demand for payment.

Our commitment to you

As personal information is so valuable, financial services companies have strict controls in place to keep the information they hold about you secure. At Invesco Perpetual, we place the utmost importance on the security of your personal information. This could mean that when conducting business with us, for example, we will ask you to confirm personal details before we are able to discuss your investment with you or that we contact you to confirm instructions you have supplied to us. We are grateful for your patience on these occasions and assure you our intentions are to help protect your personal information.

What can I do?

Of course there are a number of basic things we can all do as individuals to protect ourselves against identity crime and reduce the risk of our personal information falling into the wrong hands.

  • Check bank, credit card and other financial statements frequently and look out for  transactions that you do not recognise
  • Carefully dispose of documentation that contains personal details rather than just throwing them away
  • At a small cost, you can check your credit file with a credit reference agency such as Call Credit, Equifax or Experian to help identify any activity that you are not aware of
  • Make sure you receive all post that you are expecting. If you think post is missing, contact the Royal Mail. Also arrange for the Royal Mail to re-direct post to your new address if you have moved house and inform companies that you deal with regularly, that you have moved

Find out more

If you are interested in finding out more, there are many helpful sources of information available. Below is a list of some that might help answer any questions you have.

For credit report services

Call Credit:
www.callcredit.co.uk
Tel: 0870 060 1414

Equifax Plc:
www.equifax.co.uk
Tel: 0870 010 0583

Experian Ltd:
www.experian.co.uk
Tel: 0870 2416278

Information about identity theft

Information Commissioner's Office – a comprehensive source of information at: https://www.ico.org.uk

www.banksafeonline.org.uk and www.getsafeonline.org provide information about staying safe in the banking world and while online.

Also, the Financial Conduct Authority has a variety of information including details of scams and identity fraud on their website. Visit them at: www.fca.org.uk.