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What is Identity Theft and how can I prevent it?

Posted on Tuesday, October 31st, 2017 in Information Security

You wouldn’t reveal your personal information to a trick or treater, so why let a cyber criminal trick you into treating them this Halloween. Children sporting sinister Halloween masks may get rewarded with chocolate, money and the occasional uncherished tangerine, however, Identity Thieves attain much greater treats from their monstrous acts.

Have you ever thrown away a bank receipt without shredding it, left your laptop unattended in a public place, or sent an email to the wrong address? 

If so, then you could become victim to one of the fastest growing white-collar crimes; Identity Theft. It may be Halloween, but the real gremlins and monsters are roaming our streets all year round!

Leaving personal information lying around or accessible to others is an easy mistake to make, however, it could hold financial or reputational repercussions. Personal data holds substantial value, making it absolutely vital for cyber criminals.

Once your personal information has been exposed, an Identity Thief is then able to impersonate you, making neglectful actions on your behalf, signing you up for bank loans, applying for tax refunds, or even worse… applying for you to appear on the next episode of Jeremy Kyle!

Do you know their true identity?

Thousands of monsters and gremlins will be walking the streets this Halloween, but be aware, the real monsters, Identity Thieves, may be targeting you. An average of nearly 15,000 identity theft cases have been recorded monthly since 2017, according to Cifas.

The spine-tingling statistics below illustrate how Identity Theft has now become a major issue for individuals and businesses:

  • 6 million people in the UK claim to have been a victim of identity theft (YouGov)
  • Cybercrime and fraud make up almost 50% of reported crime
  • Incidents of identity fraud last year represents 53.3% of all fraud
  • 83% of identity fraud occurs online
  • 19 people become victims of Identity theft every minute

  • Identity theft in the workplace


    You wouldn’t want a thief to steal your personal information, so why allow them to steal your business information. It’s all well increasing yearly profits by 50%, or doubling your market share, but what if a cyber criminal gets ahold of your business documents and data. Having your data stolen can have significant implications for your organisation.

    Attackers can compromise one email account and then use the data stolen to form more advanced attacks This can impact the financial positioning of your organisation, allowing the thief to delve deep into business accounts and finances, meaning large sums of funds are lost without any possibility of recovery.

    As a result, this can create a secondary financial loss, where customers leave due to fear and loss of confidence in a business. Recovery costs are higher which leaves organisations no option but to lay off staff or, in the worse case, shut shop and close trading doors completely.

    How can I avoid becoming a victim of Identity theft?

    Identity Theft can have serious implications on both your personal and professional life, nevertheless becoming a victim can be relatively easy to avoid.

    Take a look at our prevention tips to stop your personal information and data from entering the witches cauldron this Halloween:

  • Invest in a paper shredder to destroy all personal and confidential information before discarding
  • Check your credit card and bank statements regularly and look out for any unfamiliar activity
  • Be wary of telephone calls, e-mail or letters that ask you to give or update security or personal information.
  • Never share your pins, passwords or personal identification
  • Install firewalls and protections on your electronic devices, in particular, your computer, phone, and laptop
  • Be careful when using public wifi networks. Fraudsters can hack into a network, putting your personal data and information at risk
  • Sign up for our free demo, to find out how Bob’s Business can help keep your organisation secure by educating your employees.

    Sign up for your no commitment trial

    Get your free access now!