Mark Hunter MP welcomes National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

October 9, 2008 11:25 AM
National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

Mark is supporting National Identity Fraud Prevention Week

This week, the fourth annual National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, Mark Hunter MP for the Cheadle Constituency has urged constituents to be vigilant about identity fraud, and has show his support for the initiative by signing an Parliamentary Motion on this issue.

The week aims to raise awareness of the dangers of identity fraud and inform the public and businesses of the steps they could and should be taking to protect themselves. The week has been organised by an expert group of public and private sector partners, and is being supported by Mr Hunter, the BBC's Adrian Chiles (who is fronting this year's campaign) the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service, Royal Mail, CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Retail Consortium, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), regional police forces and other organisations.

Identity fraud costs the economy more than £1 billion annually, according to Government figures, while independent research, commissioned for National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, reveals that Britain suffers one of the region's highest rates of identity fraud. The survey revealed that 4.3million adults have already fallen victim. While 95% of adults surveyed claimed to be aware that we are all at risk, 64% of British adults do not understand how best they can protect themselves against identity fraud.

Welcoming this year's National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, Mr Hunter said: "These figures show that Identity Fraud is still a massive problem in this country, and that much more work more needs to be done to inform the public about how best to protect themselves against identity fraud.

"Individuals and business need to stop taking chances with their identity, and to start getting identity fraud wise. You wouldn't leave your car or house unlocked - in the same way we all have a responsibility to protect our personal details."

To prevent identity fraud, the organisers of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week advise that individuals:

• Keep your personal and confidential documents secure and regularly check your bank and credit card accounts for unusual transactions.

• Never give out any personal information to unidentified individuals or organisations who contact you by phone, email or face-to-face.

• Redirect your mail from your old address to your new address for at least a year after you move.

• Always shred before disposing of documentation - e.g. bank and credit card statements, utility bills.

• Regularly obtain a copy of your credit report from credit reference agencies and monitor it for discrepancies.

• Use Royal Mail's 'Keep Safe' service for your post while you're away on holiday.

• If you receive an email that warns, with little or no notice, that an account will be shut down unless you reconfirm billing or security information, you should not reply or click on the link in the email. Instead, contact the institution cited in the email using a telephone number or web site address you know to be genuine.

• Use up-to-date anti-virus software and a personal firewall and be extra careful if using Internet cafes or any PC which is not your own.

• Avoid emailing personal and financial information. Before submitting financial information through a web site, look for the 'lock' icon on the browser's status bar. It signals that personal information is secure during transmission.

• Never give personal information to people calling from companies you have not dealt with before. Always check the identity of these people by calling them back. Obtain their office number from directory enquiries and then confirm their position with the switchboard before speaking to them.

• If you have been a victim of identity fraud involving the use of plastic cards, online banking or cheques, the matter should be reported direct to the financial institution concerned. They will then be responsible for further investigation and, where appropriate, onward reporting to the police. Other incidents should be reported to the relevant organisation and, dependent on their advice, to your local police station.

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