Identity Theft

Protecting your information and financial assets

Your identity and personal information are extremely valuable to you – and to criminals. Fraudsters are constantly looking to exploit individuals who innocently give away too much information or provide them with an opportunity to steal it for their own personal gain.

Criminals can use your personal details to:

  • Open a bank account
  • Apply for a credit card, loan, passport or driver’s licence
  • Purchase goods and services in your name
  • Use the information to access or take control of your financial assets such as your bank account

There are some practical common sense rules that can be followed to protect your information in key areas and ultimately help to keep your financial assets safe. 

For more information on identity theft, see our list of other useful websites.

Report your suspicions

If you think you have become a victim or are at risk of identity theft, it’s important to act quickly:

  • Report lost or stolen cards, cheque books, financial or utility statements and identity documents to the issuer immediately and inform them of your concern
  • Visit the Royal Mail website to report any loss or theft of mail
  • Contact your bank or credit card issuer to report suspicious transactions on your statement
  • If you have not already done so obtain a copy of your personal credit file and check it for suspicious entries; this is available at a cost from the following credit reference agencies:
  • Callcredit

    Equifax

    Experian

    If you find out that someone has opened a bank account or obtained credit in your name, contact the company concerned immediately. You should also report the matter to law enforcement. If you have an investment with M&G and are concerned about the security of your account information contact us immediately.

Online safety

  • Keep your online passwords safe by choosing different passwords for the different websites you use and by changing them regularly
  • Use a combination of letters, numbers and other characters where possible – refer to our website terms and conditions for your responsibilities in keeping your ‘My Account’ PIN safe
  • See our how to protect yourself online information to ensure you are aware of the common threats to you and your information whilst on the internet, and to understand the steps you can take to protect yourself from them

Out and about

  • Never give out any personal information where you could be overheard
  • Follow your bank’s advice on keeping your PIN safe, completing transactions and using ATMs
  • Keep your personal belongings such as wallet, purse, and mobile phone out of sight and reach of thieves

Social media

  • Don’t publish personal details that you wouldn’t normally share in public such as telephone numbers, bank details, passwords, date of birth or address
  • Check the website’s privacy options and set them so that only people you choose can view your profile and personal information
  • Ensure that you know who you are adding as a friend or contact
  • Avoid using the same password for multiple sites and never use the same password as your M&G ‘My Account’ facility or online banking accounts. If your password is compromised for one site then it will be compromised for them all.
  • Try to pick a username that includes no personal information and register using a separate email account that doesn’t use your real name

Post

  • Ensure there is a genuine reason for posting personal details such as your bank account information, national insurance number or date of birth
  • If you receive post containing personal or financial information that appears to have been opened already, contact the sender straight away to let them know
  • When you move home, make sure that Royal Mail redirects your post and inform your bank, card issuer, and any other organisations that you deal with immediately
  • If post arrives at your address for someone you don’t know, contact the sender to find out why
  • If you live in a property where other people could have access to your mail, take extra care. Banks and credit card companies can sometimes arrange for you to collect valuable items such as new cards or cheque books from a local branch
  • If you notice that you are not receiving mail, check if it’s been redirected or held without your knowledge
  • Royal Mail provides a variety of options to redirect or report the loss or theft of any mail. Contact Royal Mail on the customer enquiries line on 08457 740 740 or via the Royal Mail website

Unsolicited contact

  • If you receive a telephone call out of the blue, never give out any personal information. If the caller claims to be from a legitimate company, call them back on their publicly listed telephone number to verify the call. If you have any doubts, hang up.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited post or emails as these are likely to be phishing scams with the aim of obtaining your personal information. Remember M&G and other financial institutions will not ask customers to confirm account details by email.
  • If someone calls at your house, ask for identification before giving any information or letting them in. If necessary, contact the organisation they claim to represent using their publicly listed telephone number and check if they are genuine.
  • Remember you do not have to let a stranger into your house. If you are suspicious, call the police.

Financial information

  • Check financial statements as soon as they arrive and contact the company concerned immediately if any unfamiliar transactions are listed
  • Get regular copies of your personal credit file from a credit reference agency - see 'report your suspicions' - to see which financial institutions have accessed your details. If you find anything that you don’t recognise, let the credit reference agency know straight away
  • If you’re expecting correspondence from a financial institution and it doesn’t arrive, contact them immediately to inform them of your concerns
  • If you receive a letter acknowledging a change of your investment or contact details and you did not instruct this, query this immediately with the company that sent it as it may be that someone else has made the amendment and the letter has been sent to you as a security control


Document storage and disposal

  • Keep personal documents in a secure and safe place
  • Be aware of what information you leave in your work area, especially if you work in a busy environment such as an office
  • Shred all documents containing personal information before throwing them away
  • Don’t leave bills, statements, or any other documents containing personal information on the street in rubbish sacks, especially if they are transparent