Northamptonshire Police has today launched an awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.
The Not With My Name campaign, produced in partnership with the City of London Police (National Policing Lead for Fraud) is targeting identity crime in our communities.
Identity fraud is an offence that one in four UK adults 12.275 million people – is believed to have fallen victim to, losing on average £1,200 each. Total losses to the UK adult population are estimated to be £3.3 billion.*
In the first quarter of 2015 there was a 27% increase in identity fraud. The average age of a victim was 46, with men being 1.7 times more likely than women to have their identity stolen.**
The knock-on effects range from the inconvenient to the highly distressing, with issues taking on average 200 hours of a person or businesses time to resolve.
Victims often find that money has been removed from their bank or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving license has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.
The wider effects for society are also concerning with the proceeds of identity crime often being used to fund further criminal activity.
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:
Identity crime – the creation of a false identity or the misuse of a genuine identity is a key facilitator to committing further criminality, evading detection from law enforcement and laundering criminal profits. What many of us do not appreciate is the sheer scale of the problem, with one in four adults believed to have been a victim.
To really get to grips with identity crime requires us all to come together and share advice on how to protect our personal information at home, in the workplace and while out in public places. Following the top tips provided by the Not With My Name campaign will help people better understand the nature and scale of the threat they face which in turn will hopefully make them much less likely to fall victim to this type of offence.
To combat this rising threat the Not With My Name campaign will be highlighting advice focused on helping people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail.
These messages will be shared across the country, with the campaign being supported by 35 local police forces and organisations that include Get Safe Online, Cifas, FFA UK, Age UK and Experian.
A key part of the campaign will be delivered across police force Facebook and Twitter accounts and on June 29th at 5pm there will be a national Twitter chat, hosted by @actionfrauduk.
Simon Dukes, Chief Executive, Cifas said:
Every day, people in the UK are falling victim to this awful crime. We are seeing victims from all walks of life, including young, digitally-savvy adults, having their identity stolen.
The good news is that following the advice from the Not With My Name campaign will make a difference. We urge everyone today to think again about their identity, to treat it as something precious and to make small changes, online and offline, to help to stop fraudsters in their tracks.
Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online said:
Luckily, what we share about ourselves online – especially on social media – is in our own control and keeping things private will make it more difficult for criminals to steal our identity. Something as simple as changing our privacy settings on social media will only take a moment but could protect us from a devastating crime. We also need to be wary of phishing emails or texts that convince us to share personal data, as well as shoulder surfing where people look over your shoulder to get hold of log in details.
With more of us now accessing things like online banking on our smart phones when we re out and about, the simple practices of covering our screens and putting a PIN number on our devices shouldn t be underestimated. This campaign should be a call to action for people to keep their personal information safe online.
Katy Worobec Director of Financial Fraud Action UK said:
Criminals are after your personal details in order to steal your identity and commit fraud so it s important to be alert. If you get a call, text or email out of the blue, don t reveal any information unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with.
Remember, your bank or the police will never call you to ask for your 4 digit PIN or your online banking password, or for you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons anyone asking you to do so is a fraudster.