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Talk to Fellowes about personal identity fraud and you could win an Arcadia group voucher worth £200 NOW CLOSED

(127 Posts)
AngelieMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 23-Sep-13 15:20:53

As part of National Identity Fraud Protection Month, Fellowes have asked us to talk to Mumsnetters about personal identity fraud protection.

Here's what Fellowes have to say: "Identity Theft is becoming an increasing threat to the whole family. It only takes one piece of personal information for a fraudster to build a bigger picture of you and use an identity to commit crime. And it’s not just hackers and cyber criminals targeting British households with scams requesting paper-based information sent through the post still a prevalent issue. The effects of personal identity fraud can be devastating: from racking up credit in someone’s name, financial loss to time taken to resolve the situation".

So, do you do anything to protect your personal information? Maybe you keep all your documents in a safe? Or shred them as soon as you've finished with them?

More recently, it has become even more important to protect yourself online too. Have you ever been sent 'phishing' emails? Do you try not to reveal too much personal information on social media?

Have you or anyone you know ever had any experiences with personal identity fraud?

Everyone who adds their comments on this thread will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer can win a £200 Arcadia group voucher. Eight runners-up will also receive a Fellowes 63Cb Cross-Cut shredder worth £135.

Please note your comments may be included on Fellowes' social media channels (including @STOP_IDFRAUDUK), and possibly elsewhere, so please only post if you're comfortable with this.

If you've been affected by personal identity fraud and are interested in being a case study for use in the media please add your details here. If you sign up, your details may be passed onto Fellowes for them to contact you. Please only sign up if you're happy for us to do this.

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw,


NotCitrus Sat 28-Sep-13 20:33:34

I ensure I have different passwords for anything serious or money related, compared to my generic one for signing up to mailing lists, which often email me in plaintext with the password reminder. I don't have my birthday or family details listed on Facebook or social media so people would find it hard to track down my birthday or mother's maiden name (a distant relative did put an entire family tree online in the early days of the Net, thankfully before the Wayback sites got them, but took it down when I got my mum to go batshit at him - he even worked in computer security!)
I don't bother shredding name and address stuff but do shred anything with NI number or more significant details. I get various phishing emails but usually not with banks I'm with, and I never phone anyone and always go to the banking and Amazon home pages to log in, never click a link in an email.

MrNC had a credit card cloned a couple times, probably in a restaurant before they invented the machnes that come to your table. Both times the cc company agreed he was clearly elsewhere at the times they were used and refunded the money before the bill was due. I've never had a problem, possibly because my card says Dr Not Citrus and young people don't want to use it.

My boss did have identity fraud happen - another Smile account was set up in her unique name with her date of birth and address and then the address changed to one someone purportng to be her was running a massage business from, but the bank and police both told her that as no money had been lost, it wasn't a problem and she couldn't complain. She spent hours on the phone trying to get someone to take it seriously but eventually just moved banks.

AVW78 Sun 29-Sep-13 09:13:50

My brother suggested that I should put a fake name, address and birthday on anything I am asked to fill in or sign. I haven't started this yet but am seriously considering it. I have a zillion different passwords and a couple of email addresses. But how many passwords can you really remember?

I try to stay safe, password protect, keep details to a minimum online etc shred personal details before binning but I am sure that if someone was determined they could probably find a way in sadly. my philosophy is not to make it easy for them, same as I won't leave a window open or a door unlocked when I go out I try not to do the same in my virtual world.

sealight123 Sun 29-Sep-13 12:31:22

I work at a university, in the IT department, so see atleast 1 phishing email a day. Some posing as banks, HMRC and some trying to pose as the university, trying to get students and staff members details. Every once in a while someone is tricked into given their details away and we try to do as much damage control as possible by disabling their account (momentarily) to stop the phishing scam spreading and reporting the email to a web team so that the site can be disabled.

From my experience at the university I am reluctant to giving any personal information via email and over the phone, because I have seen what damage it can do.

Just remember if it sounds too good to be usually is.

dedado Sun 29-Sep-13 18:57:37

Friends were the victim of ID theft and the police thought it was through thieves targeting rubbish bins.

I am careful when internet shopping, choosing established businesses and only using a credit card, not a bank card.

I don't post my whereabouts or birthday etc on social media.

I haven't replaced a broken shredder yet, so tear up identifying paperwork. I don't receive much through the mail as I use online billing for utilities etc. I do get annoyed when institutions who should know better, e.g. banks, send unnecessary paperwork with identifying information.

SleeplessInBedfordshire Sun 29-Sep-13 21:13:25

I'm pretty careful at shredding documents before disposing, and I shred names and addresses from envelopes. I generally try not to sign up for loyalty cards or mailing lists to reduce junk mail and prevent details being passed on. I've got a separate email address that I use for entering competitions.
I've been affected by identity fraud once, when my car number plates were cloned. First I knew about it was receiving a fine in the post from an area I've never driven in! Luckily the police caught the culprits soon after so it was cleared up quickly.

Punkatheart Sun 29-Sep-13 23:22:07

I recently had my card cloned and it felt so frightening. I went to buy food and my card was refused. I had to call the bank and then be told of the fraud.

I am very cynical about any emails asking for details.

Lilpickle08 Mon 30-Sep-13 00:37:44

I definitely worry about this, the number of phishing and scam emails is definitely on the increase. I'm pretty savvy, but some of the emails are so genuine, I do have to double check. I always worry about vulnerable older people and wonder how many of them are scammed quite easily.

I try to protect myself online, and don't have that many personal details available (as far as I'm aware!). I use social media a lot, and I guess I have a lot of photos on the internet, but hopefully not much other information (I think I hid my phone number and address etc).

Re credit card fraud, I know that if your bank card for example is used fraudulently, then the banks do get your money back for you - so at least that is something. I'm lucky enough for that not to have happened though (yet!). I do check my statements frequently to ensure all the transactions are mine.

As regards personal information at home, I tend to cut documents up into little pieces, and other stuff is filed away - I wouldn't go so far as to lock anything up.

So I would say I'm probably 'middle of the road' when it comes to protecting my personal information, I could definitely try harder!

ChasedByBees Mon 30-Sep-13 07:26:59

I knew of someone who used the same online passwords for a number of things. One of these sites was hacked and then the hackers used her password to access her email account. Once they had that, they started going to other sites that she used and requesting new passwords to be sent to email. It was a nightmare to wrest back control of all the sites she used and they were able to order stuff online in the meantime.

On a lighter note, I enjoyed my email from Mervin King asking for my help with his funds.

tinypumpkin Mon 30-Sep-13 12:25:16

Again, not posting birthdays, dates of holidays and whereabouts on social media. Too tempting!

I also shred documents that we don't keep. Nothing goes in the bin with our address etc on.

Also use good anti virus, malware and other internet security.

I think it is a difficult issue, there are always new ways to overcome the ways we manage protecting our identity.

MummyBtothree Mon 30-Sep-13 14:38:17

We had someone hack into our emails and was logging on into our account in Indonesia and Australia!. We make quite a few purchases online so my husband changed everything and I think we managed to avoid any type of fraud thankfully. We shred documents before we throw them away also.

Lent1l Mon 30-Sep-13 14:50:45

Having had cards cloned twice I am always very careful to go through both my bank statement and credit cards statements on a regular basis. Neither I receive in printed form and will admit to logging into my accounts several times a week jsut to ensure there has not been activity that I don't recognise.

All card receipts are shredded as are any other documents with personal details on once I no longer need them.

I also check my credit file on a regular basis as this can be another way of noticing suspicious activity.

It is hard these days with everything online, and companies seem to ask for more and more details for the smallest things these days, even getting a refund in some shops you ahve to supply full address and phone number.

BooMeowson Tue 01-Oct-13 08:29:43

I once had my card details lifted when I used it in a proper shop. The worker used my details online and helped herself to £600 worth of technology.

Since the scenario was absolutely unavoidable (unless I wanted to pay cash forever) I don't worry about fraud so much.

NomDeClavier Tue 01-Oct-13 10:05:07

All our paperwork is filed away but when we were relocating internationally I was worried about shipping that file. Important stuff is scanned onto our computer so we have copies but I wonder how secure that is sometimes too.

My card got copied in a bar once. It was a total nightmare to sort out but I just don't know how to prevent it from happening again so my solution is to keep an eye on activity on my accounts and be up to speed with my banks' procedures for dealing with it.

lagoonhaze Tue 01-Oct-13 15:22:38

I just wish there was another solution to endless shredding! What with work docs and personal docs its neverending

rlouisa Tue 01-Oct-13 16:42:40

i used to shred, but iv discovered a better way. burning. so i pt all the documents in an oil barrel type barrel and burn them. so much quicker than sitting thru hours of shredding. for me

LaTrucha Tue 01-Oct-13 16:44:26

We used to have a shredder but it broke, so I tend to send stuff that needs to be shredded into DH's work where they have one. I keep things in a filing cabinet. TBH, I think you are more likey to have this kind of inforrmation stoled via the computer than from your house these days. I have anti-virus and malware spotter on my computer but that is as far as I am clued up. I suppose I think that by the time I've got super duper security, someone will have worked out a way to get around it.

I am cautious with social media. I check my bank account for odd transactions two or three times a month. My bank account has been defrauded in the past, but I don't know if that is identity theft as such.

xxxkadzxxx Tue 01-Oct-13 22:17:44

I have never been a victim of identity fraud although my mum has. In May we were going on holiday to Vietnam for 3 weeks. On the way to the airport my mum received a call from her bank questioning a transaction which was made from her account. It was for thousands of pounds being transferred to a baptist church in America. The bank were fine about the matter and dealt with it quickly but as a result of the fraud my Mums card had to be cancelled and replaced which wouldn't be with her for up to 2 weeks. Luckily my Nan was able to transfer some money into my account for spending money or we would have had a pretty rubbish and 'nothingy' holiday as there was no way my money would have paid for all of us!

stephgr Wed 02-Oct-13 00:45:22

I am deliberately careful with my personal info so I'm not on social networking sites. I shred all personal documents which I no longer need.

I have had phishing emails and ones which have infected my computer with viruses so now I won't click on links in emails unless I know the sender. Recently I've had a lot of fake emails from paypal which I have forwarded to paypal in the hope that there's something they can do.

I have security software on my computers and whilst i do shop online a lot I don't bank online.

I have been the victim of credit card fraud several times in the past 10 years and the card companies think the perpetrator got my details via online shopping i had done. I now check my card statements more carefully.

dappledawn Wed 02-Oct-13 11:31:31

ID fraud is an ever-present concern these days and I don't do online banking for that reason, as one can never be sure how secure such systems actually are, and there is always the possibility of their being hacked into.

Recently I was sent a new debit card by my bank, as my existing one had been apparently compromised, as I'd used it for online purchasing on a certain website (they couldn't tell me which one, but were reissuing debit cards with new numbers, just in case). Lakeland also sent out a letter a few weeks ago alerting customers that their website had been hacked, which was a concern as I have shopped there in the past online. A couple of years ago I took out a new ID Fraud /Identity Theft policy with CPP, after it came out - if I remember correctly - that the DWP had 'lost' a CD-ROM holding personal details of millions of people who were in receipt of Child Benefit. I felt that this had raised my risk of becoming a victim of ID fraud so this expense would be justified. Now I find that CPP is itself under scrutiny for mis-selling such policies and may have to pay back premiums to many customers of whom I might be one....!

So it is very hard to know how best to protect oneself against this fast-increasing crime of our times - especially when despite all our personal vigilance, some companies/institutions themselves do not take enough care over personal details of individuals: there are often horror stories in the press of private info being found in bins on the street, etc.

I feel strongly that legitimate institutions themselves should get their act in order: recently I got an unsolicited phone call, purportedly from my bank, saying they wanted to talk to me but would not tell me why or what about, until I had revealed to the caller, some letters from my mother's maiden name etc... When I challenged their identity, the caller said: 'I can tell you your bank card number to prove who I am'(!) - which made me even more worried. I got back to the bank and found out in the end that it had been a legit call, but the way it was made caused me concern that it had been yet another scam trying to trick me into parting with personal information. I still don't know what that call was about!

DifferentNow Wed 02-Oct-13 15:44:18

So, do you do anything to protect your personal information? Maybe you keep all your documents in a safe? Or shred them as soon as you've finished with them?

I tear papers up but DH is always giving me a hard time for not being careful enough. I'm bad for doing things like logging on to internet banking when I'm out and about and using public wifi

More recently, it has become even more important to protect yourself online too. Have you ever been sent 'phishing' emails? Do you try not to reveal too much personal information on social media?

I've received lots of 'phishing' emails. Most are very obviously dodgy but the odd one can appear quite convincing - I can see how some people are duped. I don't use social media (although I probably post a bit too much personal info here on MN!).

Have you or anyone you know ever had any experiences with personal identity fraud?

Not as far as I know.

CMOTDibbler Wed 02-Oct-13 15:51:20

We shred everything with information on.

Online, I'm careful as to what I reveal, and am v careful about who I buy from

DoubleMum Wed 02-Oct-13 17:12:25

I'm not too zealous about it. Phishing emails are generally easy to spot but I probably should shred. Our bins are only available for a few hours though and I work from home in a small cul-de-sac so I'd notice if a stranger was going through them.

flamingtoaster Wed 02-Oct-13 17:34:11

We shred everything that has any information about us on it.

I've had quite a few phishing e-mails but never click on them. If I feel I want to check anything I go direct to the website myself by typing the url I know to be genuine into a new window.

A couple of years ago over a period of weeks we got invoices from mobile phone companies for huge mobile phone bills - foreign name but our address. The first mobile phone company didn't have anyone on duty over the weekend to deal with fraud - and when we did get through they were unconcerned, they simply wrote it off. In the end we contacted all the mobile phone companies and asked that no contracts or mobiles were issued to our address without additional security checks.

MyCatLovesMeSometimes Wed 02-Oct-13 17:37:15

We tend to shred paperwork when finished with it.

Don't tend to receive spam into main email as I'm careful about giving that out and have another one to put into websites etc.

Had fraudulent transaction of credit card once (payment to activity park!) when we'd been away on a weekend. It's made sure I check all credit card transactions/ bank statements very carefully. However credit card company were very good about returning money as it was found to be a transaction without any PIN number input or security checks.

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