Newham police Borough Commander: ‘ID fraud means East Ham made the news for the wrong reasons”
- Credit: Archant
Recently this area of London has unfortunately made the news for the wrong reasons - according to new government statistics, East Ham is the third worst place in the country for fraudulent activity.
Apparently, in 2012, residents of the Newham district were the victims of 27 counts of attempted identity fraud per 10,000 people, while the London average is 11 attempts per 10,000 people.
Fraud is when trickery is used to gain advantage, usually financially, over someone else.
Identity theft happens when fraudsters access enough information about someone’s identity (such as their name, date of birth, current or previous addresses) to commit identity fraud. If you’re a victim of identity theft, it can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances and could also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.
Identity theft is not targeted specifically at people from one income bracket; a fraudster can make hundreds, if not thousands of pounds from taking your identity.
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Fraudsters can use your details to open bank accounts, order goods or take out official documents like passports and driving licences in your name.
The first time you might hear about the fact that someone has stolen your identity is when you get bills for goods you haven’t ordered, or letters from debt collectors asking for money.
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You can protect yourself by carefully shredding any documentation in your name, especially bank statements or bills, before you throw them away.
If you receive an unsolicited email or phone call from what appears to be your bank or building society asking for your security details, never reveal your full password, login details or account numbers. Be aware that a bank will never ask for your PIN or for a whole security number or password.
If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to call them back on.
Alternatively, hang up and call your bank back on the legitimate phone number printed on your bank statements.
If you do become the victim of fraud, you should act quickly - otherwise you may end up with unwanted debts in your name.
If you believe you are a victim of identity fraud involving plastic cards (e.g. credit and debit cards), online banking or cheques, you must report it to your bank as soon as possible.
Your bank will then be responsible for investigating the issue and they will report any case of criminal activity to the police. The police will then record your case and decide whether to carry out follow-up investigations.
If you think you are a victim of another kind of identity fraud, you must report the matter to the relevant organisation. Depending on their advice, you should then alert the police by calling 101 or going into your nearest police station with all the relevant documents.
Action Fraud is a fantastic organisation that provides plenty of advice and support online to victims and potential victims of fraud.
Check out their website at www.actionfraud.police.uk or the Met’s fraud prevention advice at ww.met.police.uk.