Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the UK and Ireland. It affects over seven million people every year, and costs businesses and individuals millions of pounds.
In this guide, we’ll look at how fraudsters steal identities and use them to commit crime, why identity theft prevention is important for businesses, what you can do to prevent it happening to your business or employees.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal details and uses them for their own benefit. It can occur in a number of different ways, including financial, physical and online.
Theft of personal information can cause a lot of damage to people’s lives. For example, if your bank account is hacked then you could lose money and face being out of pocket until the bank sorts it out. Or if someone uses your identity to get hold of things like home insurance or medical treatment that aren’t covered by the NHS you might end up having to pay back large sums of money at some stage later down the line.
Why is identity theft important for businesses?
Identity theft is a serious crime which can be very costly for businesses and individuals. The cost of identity theft for businesses can be high as they are liable for any losses that may arise from fraudulent transactions made by an identity thief. The cost of identity theft for individuals can be high because it is extremely difficult to reclaim money that has been stolen, unless you have taken out the right insurance policies beforehand.
Identity theft is a growing problem in the UK and companies need to ensure they have the right security measures in place to protect themselves against it.
How do fraudsters steal identities and use them to commit crime?
Identity theft is a common problem for businesses, but it’s also important to understand how fraudsters steal identities and use them to commit crime.
Identity thieves can obtain your personal information through a variety of methods. They may obtain your credit card details when you buy something online or at a store, or they may get hold of your Social Security number by hacking into computer systems that contain it.
Once an identity thief has your name and other details, they can steal money from your accounts by making unauthorized purchases with those accounts’ credit cards or opening new accounts in their own name using fake documents like driver’s licenses and utility bills. They might also attempt to take out loans in your name with lenders who don’t check their customer’s credit history before approving a loan application (this is called ‘loan fraud’). The most common type of loan fraud involves car finance deals where the buyer doesn’t pay out any money upfront – instead taking out an interest-free agreement that includes monthly payments spread over several years (or even decades).
How can you prevent identity theft?
Use a business verification service
Make sure you have the right information about your customers
Use a fraud detection system
Have a clear and secure policy on how to deal with fraud
Don’t use weak passwords and change them regularly
Don’t give out personal information over the phone
The future of identity checks for UK businesses
With the GDPR and new data protection laws on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for businesses to gain a good understanding of how they currently manage personal information.
This may involve making changes to how they collect and store data. If so, they should consider using a risk-based approach to identity checks as this may be beneficial in helping them comply with these regulations.
It’s also worth taking into consideration other uses for identity vetting services such as fraud prevention, money laundering and identity theft prevention.
This guide has shown you some steps on how to prevent identity theft, but it’s always important to remember that these are just guidelines. Don’t be afraid of trying new things if they feel like they’re going to help you stay secure!
How to prevent identity theft? A UK business guide