The Met Police have issued guidelines in a bid to keep citizens safe in the digitised world.
In their book titled 'The Little Book of Big Scams', the police force said: “Identity fraud is often quoted as ‘Britain’s fastest growing crime’.
“It involves the misuse of an individual’s personal details in order to commit crime.
“Victims of identity fraud often report a great deal of stress and cost in trying to clear matters up after the fraudulent use of their personal information.
The Met Police have issued guidelines in a bid to keep citizens safe in the digitised world
“Many never establish exactly how their details were obtained.”
The post is one common way for conmen to obtain details and the Met warned the public to thoroughly investigate if post addressed to someone else appears at your address and re-direct your post when moving home in a bid to protect mail left in communal areas.
The Met advised: “Dispose of anything containing your personal or banking details by using a cross cut shredder or tearing up into small pieces.”
To avoid being defrauded online by fake websites, some key things to look out for are verified sites which will often begin with http and change to https, while a padlock may appear in the browser bar.
If personal information is sent over an connection that is not secure it can leave it vulnerable to be raided by hackers.
Bank cards, including credit and debit, have long been fodder for scammers who often ruse the victim into unwittingly handing over their details, such as their PIN.
ATMs are another source easy cash for thieves
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Many never establish exactly how their details were obtained
One method often used by fraudsters is calling targeted victims and pretending to be from an authority, such as the bank or telephone provider, and convincing them to hand over their details.
Despite trying to be savvy and report or verify a cold-call, one mistake often made is when people try to verify the call, they get caught out by fraudsters keeping their phone line open.
The Met explained: “If you receive a call from your bank or the police, verify who the person is before handing over an personal details.
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“You can do this by calling your (the number on the back of your card) or the police (101) on a DIFFERENT phone line.
“This can be a mobile phone or a phone owned by your family, friend’s or a neighbour.
“If no other phone is available, wait AT LEAST 5 minutes to ensure your line is clear to make the phone call.
The Met advised anyone who is destroying a bankcard to ensure they cut through the chip
“This is because currently, scammers are able to keep phone lines open.
“Whilst you think you are making a new phone call, the line is still open to the scammer who pretends to be a different person or from your bank or the police.”
This common trick catches many people out, and the Met warns to always hang up a call immediately if you suspect it is a scam.
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ATMs are another source easy cash for thieves, with skimming devices and distraction theft just two of the tools used to get their hands on your cash.
Not sharing and shielding your PIN are simple ways to avoid being a victim of card theft.
The Met said: “Do not get distracted. Be particularly cautious if ‘well-meaning’ strangers try to distract you or offer to help you and most importantly, discreetly put your money away before leaving the cash machine.
Bank cards, including credit and debit, have long been fodder for scammers
“Fraudsters sometime fit devices to cash machines that trap your card, which they retrieve as soon as you have left the area.
“Destroy or preferably shred your cash machine receipts, mini-statements or balance enquiries when you dispose of them.”
The force advised anyone who is destroying a bankcard to ensure they cut through the chip.
Anyone fearing they have been a victim of fraud can call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.