The recent wide-scale theft of private photos from a range of celebrities has demonstrated how vulnerable we all are to online security breaches but typically it’s your financial data, not pictures, that hackers are interested in.
Did you know that more than 221,075 cases of fraud were reported last year? It can be tough to find the culprits of identity theft and locate your stolen money, but simple steps like using a strong and memorable password can help make a big difference for your personal online accounts.
Your identity is valuable. So what if someone was claiming to be you in order to receive access to products and services? You might not know you were a victim until it is too late. That’s why we’ve decided to detail some warning signs that might indicate you’ve been a victim of cybercrime – and how to intercept the hackers before they get your cash.
3 possible warning signs that you’ve become a victim of identity theft:
1. Unexpected call charges appear on your mobile phone bill
This sign of account takeover could be a fraudster contacting your mobile phone operator pretending to be you. They may also begin making unauthorised transactions on your account, for example by adding new devices, or SIM cards in your name.
Tip: If you see any mobile phone charges that you feel do not to relate to you, contact your service provider immediately.
2. You receive a delivery of a shiny new laptop you haven’t ordered or paid for
A fraudster may have purchased something in your name to be sent to your address, with plans to intercept the delivery.
Tip: If you haven’t ordered an item, don’t accept the delivery. Check the delivery docket and contact the company from which the order was made as the delivery may simply have been made in error. It might also be a good idea to check your bank statements as these will highlight if any items have been purchased fraudulently in your name.
3. You receive unexpected and irrelevant post
For example, if you don’t own a car, but start receiving copies of Luxury Car Monthly through your letterbox, this could be an indication that something is awry. Any post that isn’t relevant to the items you normally purchase should be treated as suspicious.
Tip: If you are concerned, check your credit report for signs of unusual activity. This will help you spot if a fraudster has applied for or secured credit in your name.
What else should you be aware of?
Scammers are always trying to find new methods to try and get your money and financial information, so there are other ways they use to trick you. Alarm bells should ring if you’ve received correspondence like the following:
- You were contacted out of the blue by a company you’ve never heard of claiming to offer a deal that sounds too good to be true, or that you have won a prize in a competition you didn’t enter
- You’ve been asked to give personal or financial details or pay an upfront fee and you are under pressure to respond quickly to their correspondence
- They ask for you to reply, but the contact details of the company contacting you are vague, for example a PO Box or a premium rate number
- The correspondence from the company contains worrying grammatical or spelling mistakes – especially if it claims to come from an “official or reputable” source
- You have been asked to keep the matter confidential, which might seem strange if they are asking for your financial information.
For more information on what to look out for, visit the security area of our blog.