Devon and Cornwall Police has today launched a week long awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.
The ‘Not With My Name’ campaign, produced in partnership with the City of London Police (National Policing Lead for Fraud) is targeting identity crime in our communities.
Identity fraud is an offence that one in four UK adults – approximately 12million people – is believed to have fallen victim to losing on average £1,200 each. Total losses to the UK adult population are estimated to be £3.3 billion.*
In the first quarter of 2015 there was a 27% increase in identity fraud. The average age of a victim was 46, with men being 1.7 times more likely than women to have their identity stolen.**
Mr Bob Bunney, Crime Prevention Lead for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Identity fraud is rising and often people do not realise they have been a victim until it is too late. This type of crime can affect anyone at any time and we are urging people to be alert. If you get a call, text or email out of the blue, don’t reveal any information unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with. Criminals want your personal details in order to steal your identity and commit fraud.”
Victims often find that money has been removed from their bank or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving license has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.
The knock-on effects range from the inconvenient to the highly distressing, with issues taking on average 200 hours of a person or businesses time to resolve.
The wider effects for society are also concerning with the proceeds of identity crime often being used to fund further criminal activity.
Mr Bunney added: “In order to tackle identity crime, we must all take responsibility to protect our personal information at home, in the workplace and while out in public places. The top tips provided by the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will help people better understand the nature and scale of the threat they face which in turn will hopefully make them much less likely to fall victim to this type of offence.”
To combat this rising threat the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will be highlighting advice focused on helping people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail.
These messages will be shared across the country, with the campaign being supported by 35 local police forces and organisations that include Get Safe Online, Cifas, FFA UK, Age UK and Experian.
Individuals and businesses that have fallen victim to a fraud facilitated by an identity crime should report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Alternatively, you can contact the police by email at [email protected] or by calling 101 for non-emergencies. In an emergency always call 999.
You can also call the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
For more information and advice on identity fraud, please visit www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/crimes-against-the-individual/identity-fraud
Source:: Devon and Cornwall Police News