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How To Protect Yourself From UK Child Benefit Bank Records Loss

Personal_Finance / UK Banking Nov 21, 2007 - 11:51 AM GMT

By: Sarah_Jones

Personal_Finance Best Financial Markets Analysis Article

The Child Benefit Agency has lost the personal details of every parent who receives child benefit, including names, addresses, dates of birth, national insurance numbers, child benefit numbers and bank accounts. As a result, 25 million people are now vulnerable to identity fraud if the data on two discs falls into the wrong hands.

They aren't the only ones. In a matter of weeks, data breaches have been reported by organisations as diverse as Standard Life and Next.


No wonder recent research showed that many of us do not trust big institutions to keep our personal information safe. The Canvasse Opinion survey found that 34 per cent of us do not trust insurance companies, 33 per cent think Internet retailers aren't secure and 32 per cent believe that government cannot be relied on to safeguard the data that can be used to impersonate us, borrow money in our names – and ruin our lives.

If you think you could be at risk, take these simple precautions as soon as possible.

1. Check your bank statements carefully. With your account data and basic personal information, criminals could try to get hold of your money. If you spot any unfamiliar transactions, tell your bank immediately and explain the circumstances.

2. Look at your credit report . The information in the Child Benefit Agency records is enough for a criminal to apply for loans, credit cards and even mortgages in your name – as well as other forms of credit such as mobile telephone and catalogue accounts. Your credit report lists all your credit commitments and recent applications for credit, so you can instantly see if someone has been trying to use your ID and put a stop to problems before they can develop.

3. Minimise the information you post on social networking sites. Organised gangs are now focusing on ID fraud as a profit centre and they know that many people give away useful snippets that could be passwords or key dates giving access to your bank and card accounts. Edit out the names of pets, mother's maiden name, where you went to school and anything else you might use as a password or PIN.

4. Watch out for hoax calls, letters or e-mails. Taking advantage of your distress in the wake of a data breach, criminals may call, e-mail or write pretending to need further information in order to protect you. In fact, they hope to rip you off more thoroughly – so don't give away information to people you do not know. Check with organisations that might have a genuine reason for contacting you before you part with your data.

5. Ensure that your bank and credit card account passwords do not relate to the data that could be compromised. Many of us tend to use details such as children's names and memorable dates as passwords to protect our bank and credit card accounts. Fraudsters are likely to make a good guess at these passwords which will give them access to your finances for further theft and much more. Make sure you update your passwords on a regular basis and use unique words that do not relate to data that could be compromised in a data breach.

Credit monitoring is such an effective method of protecting yourself that it is recommended by the Home Office and many responsible organisations automatically offer it to customers and clients who have been affected by a data breach.

You can see your Experian credit report for free with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert, the UK 's leading credit monitoring and identity fraud protection service. Then keep on checking regularly, to give yourself peace of mind and make sure that criminals haven't taken their time in impersonating you.

By Sarah Jones
Marketoracle.co.uk

The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Forecasting & Analysis online publication. We present in-depth analysis from over 100 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets. Thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction. http://www.marketoracle.co.uk

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.

Sarah Jones Archive

© 2005-2018 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


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