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What is Identity Theft? Definition.

Identity theft is simply where someone has had access to, and then used your own personal identity details to pass themselves off as you. This mean that they simply have your full name – rather than just your Christian and surname – or that they have gone a step further and found out your date of birth; your mother’s maiden name, your national insurance number, bank number or a whole host of things related to your personal identity.

Any information that can be obtained to help another to pass themselves off as you, can be defined as being Identity Theft.

Personal Identity theft is relatively easy for someone who is determined – or experienced – in these matters. In fact some criminals actually make a good living by obtaining information about you and either using it themselves, or selling it on to the wide range of people or organizations who can make use of it.

Anything that can help to identify you - or pass someone else off as being you – is of value. Sometimes the information is used in a criminal manner, other times for commercial reasons – which in itself are possibly illegal activities; bearing in mind the legislation that exists to prevent this activity.

Your Personal Information is Important - don't lose it!

Information about yourself that you might seem is harmless – such as your full name or family details – can be used for fraudulent purposes; such as obtaining a loan or other form of finance; or simply using ‘you’ as a guarantor or reference provider.

Very often, an identity thief does not have to go to great lengths to obtain your personal information. It seems that many are flippantly using their personal info, almost to the extent of giving it away. There will always be someone wanting your information details – not only in the criminal fraternity.

The main items of personal information include

Much of this information is freely available – but should not be – from supermarkets, travel agents, on-line facilities, club membership and of course from the wide-ranging databases on the internet.

All this is useful to unscrupulous persons who may want to pass themselves off as being you. Often they do not have to put in appearance or show up in person; they can simply confirm that they are ‘you’ on the telephone or even by email. If they have your information at hand, being ‘you’ is relatively easy, and will become increasingly so with the sophisticated techniques that are now available.

Resources - http://ico.org.uk/media/1042838/personal_information_toolkit.pdf



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