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Protecting your employees from identity theft

Thieves can use someone’s identity to steal money, take out loans, sell property, and obtain a passport or driving licence. Once a thief is in possession of someone’s full name, address, date of birth, and bank or credit card details, their identity can be stolen or cloned. Identity theft is big business and it is on the rise. So, how can your employees guard against identity theft?

Who are the ID thieves?

ID theft can take place online or physically. ID thieves want someone’s personal information so that they can access their bank account or take out loans or credit cards in that person’s name. It has even been known for thieves to sell a victim’s home through an auction, having obtained their details by stealing their post!

ID theft techniques

There are many scams currently operating where the victim receives emails or telephone calls from a third party purporting to be from their bank, alerting them to a potential account security breach and asking for a password and log-in details so that the account can be protected. The scammers are then able to access the victim’s bank account and empty it of funds.

A similar scam involves a random telephone call from someone pretending to be from a telecoms provider. The scammer asks for remote access to the victim’s computer. Once inside the machine, they steal personal information including bank account and credit card details.

The bank, building society or utilities provider will never ask for a client’s account password over the phone or by email. If a member of your staff receives a communication of this nature, inside or outside of work, they should always contact their provider on a telephone number that they know is genuine and query it.

Other scams involve enticing victims to download zip files or other email attachments that contain malware such as keystroke software. These ‘bots’ monitor a victim’s computer use, stealing account numbers and passwords of online bank accounts and other personal information that could be used fraudulently.

Preventing ID theft

There are a number of ways in which your staff can protect themselves from ID thieves.

Online passwords should be changed regularly for strong, unpredictable ones. Items like paper bank statements or credit card receipts should be shredded or burned, not just thrown out with the rubbish. When disposing of old tech such as computers or phones, always use a reputable recycling company who will destroy any data remaining on the device.

If you would like more information about keeping your staff members protected from ID theft, contact our helpful team to find out more about our training courses.