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Identity theft

It's what it says on the tin

A criminal steals your personal information, and pretends to be you.

Stealing your identity isn't enough, then they move to identity fraud. The criminal, pretending to be you, takes out credit in your name, or takes over your bank or credit card accounts.

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With a few of your personal details from your dustbin, PC, or even post, an identity thief can open credit cards, arrange loans and buy products or services in your name, without you knowing. These scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and can happen to anyone.

Stop your bin doing the dirty on you

Read and shred personal information. If it's in the bin it can be taken back out again. Read then shred anything that contains personal information - such as letters, bills and receipts, so they can't fall into the wrong hands.

Keep your address up to date

Tell your bank, credit card providers, and mobile phone operators, and set up a Royal Mail redirect to your new address, and collect items regularly from any shared or outdoor mailboxes. Also keep a note of when you usually expect to receive bank statements and utility bills. Contact Royal Mail if you think any of your post is missing or stolen.

Missing mail?

Royal Mail redirect

Have post for your old address sent to your new one.

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Close dusty accounts

Close any accounts you don't use any more. This reduces the risk of a fraudster taking over your account.

Declined for a new account

If a lender refuses to give you credit, this could be a sign of identity theft. But it can also happen for other reasons, so ask the lender to tell you and which credit reference agency they searched. There are three key agencies in the UK.

Keep tabs on your credit file

This not only shows what your credit rating is, but also any applications for credit made in your name in the last six months, so you can see if an identity thief is targeting you.

What's that transaction on your statement?

Check your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you spot unfamiliar transactions, contact your bank or credit card provider straight away.

Do you know where your passport and driving license are?

These are two key forms of ID and as such need to be carried with care. Always know where they are. If they go missing you need to be especially aware of the other warning signs listed here. Report any loss to the police and to the Identity and Passport Services or the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as appropriate.

Police warrants or County Court Judgements (CCJs)

In some cases of identity theft, you might receive a police warrant or county court judgement. If this happens, tell the police you're a victim of identity theft and they'll advise you on what to do. If you're a Capital One customer with any of our products, you can contact us - even if the fraud is not on your Capital One account - and a dedicated advisor will help and support you through the process.

Recent bereavement

Criminals apply for credit in the names of recently deceased people. If you're the executor (trusted person and decision maker) of someone's estate, you can reduce the chance of this happening by removing details from mailing lists.