Fraud and identity theft
Fraud and identity theft is one of the fastest growing areas of crime and occurs when your personal information is used by someone else without your knowledge.
While overall levels of crime remain low across the West Midlands region, the nature of modern technology and communications means that people can fall victim to criminals both here and in other parts of the world.
The National Fraud Authority estimates that the loss to the UK economy from fraud is more than £85bn per year.
Your identity and personal information are valuable to criminals. If they can find out your details, they can use your name to open bank accounts, get credit cards and loans or apply for state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licences. If your identity is stolen, you may have difficulty getting loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is sorted out and you could also find yourself liable for financial losses caused by criminals using your identity.
What Information Are Criminals Interested In?
The key documents and information that criminals would like to get hold of are your:
- Driving Licence
- Bank account details - cheque books, debits cards, reciepts and statements
- Credit card details - cards, statements and receipts
Other information can also be useful to criminals, such as dates of birth, home addresses and even the names of your next of kin. Much of this information is routinely posted by people on the internet - either during transactions with retailers or through social networking sites. It pays to think carefully about what you want to disclose online.
What if I've been a victim?
If you think you've been a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud online using the secure online fraud reporting tool. You'll be given a crime reference number and your case will be referred on to the relevant police force that will investigate the incident.