Woman shares warning signs after scammers steal her personal details

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Some 40 million people across the UK have been targeted by scammers, new data from Lowell, credit management company, showed. They urged Britons to remain vigilant and aware of the seriousness of fraud as it can have negative financial and mental implications impact on victims.

Marie Black, 26, was a victim of identity fraud after her personal details were used to take out multiple credit cards and insurance in her name.

Identity theft is when someone steals an individuals personal information or possessions so they can use their identity to take out loans or different items.

When she reported the attempted fraud to the companies, they immediately flagged this on their websites so that nothing further could happen, and the criminals could not continue.

To help warn other people of the criminals’ tactics and to understand the situation better herself, Marie got in touch with people higher up in some of the companies to check how this could happen, and flag faults in their credibility procedures.

The companies disclosed all details and paperwork to Marie to help her find who was responsible.

She said: “The whole process took around four weeks, and I realised it was happening due to credit checks coming in the mail.

“I was nervous about this affecting my credit scores, but I was reassured by the different companies this would not affect it.

“Mentally, I was very nervous, although I’ve always been careful with disclosing information and my personal details, I was shocked by how easy it was for this person to attempt getting credit cards and insurance.

“I’ve been even more vigilant since and find myself taking very strict precautions when it comes to disclosing my information.”

The fraud happened without the person attempting the fraud ever contacting Marie personally.

As the criminals attempted to take out credit cards in Marie’s name, a credit check was happening on her account. She kept getting these credit check notifications in the mail, which was when she realised something was not right.

“I was shocked by the insurance company and how easy it was for them to take out insurance,” she stated.

It’s important for Britons to regularly check their credit card and bank statements to watch out for purchases they didn’t make and charges they don’t recognise.

Experian.co.uk listed the warning signs of Identity Fraud to help Britons stop falling victim to the same.

Their website states: “Be aware of tell-tale signs.

  • Email confirmations for purchases you didn’t make or emails demanding payment for an account you didn’t set up
  • Credit cards arriving in the post you didn’t apply for
  • Bills from companies you’ve had no dealings with
  • Debt collection contacting you about bills you don’t recognise
  • Being told you’ve been approved or denied credit for accounts you know nothing about
  • Being refused when you apply for a loan or credit card even though you know you’ve got a healthy credit score.”

When discussing her situation and how her details were taken, Marie explained that the scammers use realistic tactics.

She said: “I do believe it’s getting more realistic, and that banks and insurance companies must continuously improve their security systems.

“Do not leave it all to the individual, especially those who are not as tech- savvy as the younger generations. There should be better guidelines for those who do not use technology as often, or are not sure about the procedure of the companies they are insured have bank accounts with.

She explained that she would never give her account and sort code number over the phone to the bank or any companies following the fraud.

She suggested some advice for people who may have been a victim of fraud, or help people avoid it.

She said: “Don’t fear saying no to the person you speak to and hang up the phone. No company sends you texts that lead to links where you need to fill in your bank details.

“Go to your bank in person or find their website and contact the number on their website. Don’t call back the same number that called you. If you’re ever unsure, check with your family or friends.”

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