How to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud

Banks and other companies work hard to protect you against fraud. But there are things you can do to protect yourself too.

Here’s some handy advice about how to stay safe :lock:

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The strongest passwords are ones made up of four random, common words. This XKCD cartoon sheds some light on why.

This is not very well worded, this may be a good way of choosing a strong password, but how is this stronger than 5 random words, or a fully random password stored in a password fault.

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Some crucial information left out i feel is the likes of identity theft protection , maybe they aren’t perfect but worth it if you’ve had your license stolen as that has your address, DOB, full name and it’s even a fully valid proof of i.d. to open bank accounts online for alot of legacy banks.

Also registering for cifas proactive service is a minimum after losing you license

https://www.cifas.org.uk/services/identity-protection/protective-registration

Use www.masterpassword.app

So, it looks like I may have been identity thieved. Looked on Credit Karma, and saw some gambling related searches. Contacted the companies and one of them has already confirmed that an account was set up over the weekend which I definitely didn’t do. Scary stuff.

Any tips as to what I can do beyond registering for Cifas protective registration and telling TransUnion? Is there a way I can find out when my details might have been leaked?

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You’ll need to just contact action fraud and let the police investigate it. Most companies can’t give out any more details than what you already know.

Guess it also depends on has any credit been taken out in your name an all

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Worth checking on places like DeHashed for any traces of your data or identity.

I presume you’ve not been phished here, so it more likely stems from a data breach somewhere. Have you moved house in the last few years? Someone could be sending mail for you to an old address if so.

@DaveJ’s suggestion is a good thing to do as well, but they’ll tell you to contact your local police. Do that. Report it. If only so the report is logged. Don’t count on them to actually investigate or it yielding any results. And of course refute them with reference agencies because they’re not you.

Most importantly, tell the credit reference agencies where these appear.

Here’s an article that outlines everything else you should be doing.

Don’t panic and act quickly. Hopefully you’ve caught it early and it goes no further once you’ve put a stop to it. Best wishes!

Edit: Now would be a good time to do a quick security audit too. Update passwords. turn on 2FA where you can. For services that give you this control, sign out everywhere. Falsify your details for any old or unused socials, and then, if you’re able, delete them.

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Thanks for the replies both!

I don’t remember being phished, and given that they used an old address and they had my DOB, I suspect it’s a data breach. Recently received an email from a London based company about a data breach so just waiting to see if the details stolen match what the perpetrators used.

I contacted both gambling firms, one of them confirmed it’s definitely suspicious looking but couldn’t provide further details. The other is yet to respond. I’ll contact TransUnion through CreditKarma to report it, and I’ll look into Cifas protective registration (as much as I hate the idea). Checked my local police website and they recommend I go to Action Fraud, so I expect I’ll be sent round in circles there.

All my accounts use different, long passwords generated through Keychain, I have no personal details on socials, and I have 2FA on all emails. Fingers crossed it’s all good and that financial accounts wouldn’t be approved with an old address/address discrepancies. Shows how secure betting sites are though!

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Been on hold with Action Fraud for an hour now… their website doesn’t let me report this, the tool is focussed on more ‘serious’ fraud. Thinking about Cifas I don’t know if I want the inconvenience given that even they say it doesn’t stop every instance of fraud if the companies concerned don’t use them. But then again many small headaches might be better than one big headache should the fraudsters try something more serious.

I didn’t need this today

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So, an update almost a week later. Two companies have now informed me that someone has indeed taken out accounts in my name and these have been “secured”. Following an update to my Equifax score I spotted a third search conducted on the same date, but that company is super unhelpful. There’s just a support email and they say that I need to email from the address associated to my account even though I’m telling them that any accounts they hold for me may in fact be fraudulent!

Don’t gambling companies have to check IDs?

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They do, but rarely during on boarding! There’s always something later that triggers those stronger checks. When I did matched betting, only one ever asked me for my ID! And of course it was the one that didn’t have a secure process for providing it, so lost about £20 on them!

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/guide/age-and-id-verification

This says that you must prove your age and identity before you can gamble but doesn’t seem to be overly specific on that process.

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It’s very similar to the process of opening a savings account with Marcus or Atom. Or an account with Freetrade. You have to be over 18 for those, but they rarely ask for ID unless for some reason they can’t run the checks without it.

I am close to tearing out all my hair. :rage:

So when this whole saga started, I noticed two searches on my TransUnion file. One of the two companies was super quick and helpful, closing the fraudulent account in a day. Then second one took a week or so, but still closed the account.

I also noticed a search on my Equifax file, dated the same day, and reached out to the company. They can only be contacted by email, I can’t for the life of me find a complaints address, chat, phone number or CEO email. Their Twitter is also just marketing, they don’t respond to anyone. So I keep trying to email them, and they keep saying since I’m not emailing from the address associated with my account they can’t help. I reply, explaining it carefully that I don’t have an account but someone else may do, and they still respond that I should respond from the email associated with my account.

I don’t know how to get through to them, shall I try in foreign languages? Record a video? Draw a cartoon? And I don’t know how to get them to close the fraudulent account (if there is one). I am really struggling with this just imagining all the things someone could be getting up to with an account in my name. But they’re seemingly not interested.

What can I do? I’m at a loss here. I’m not going to send them a copy of my ID as they suggested – I feel like they should have required that before opening an account for someone else in my name!

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Who is the gambling ombudsman or whatever? Can they do anything?

I’ll have to try to go through Resolver I think. Sadly in the murky world of gambling things aren’t always as clear as with banks and their complaints processes.

Have you tried raising a dispute with your CRA (TransUnion/Equifax/Experian) letting them know that it wasnt yourself who performed the hard search on your credit file - They will raise the dispute on your behalf and investigate the case for you perhaps they may have better luck contacted the company.

The most affective way is the press, if you’re able to find a journalist willing to help bring attention to what’s happened to you. Most will if they’re able to make it look like scary clickbait. But nothing gets a companies attention provoking proper action quite like a bad story in the press. It’d probably need to be one of the bigger well known names though for a journalist to want to run with it.

Report them to the gambling commissioner for sure though. It sounds like you’ve exhausted every direct avenue with this company. If their website outlines a formal complaint process, do that first, as you’ll need to. If they don’t, outline the lack of one in your complaint, and you can always complain by sending a letter that says I am complaining to their registered address.

Edit to add how you can report them:

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-and-players/page/report-something-in-confidence

Maybe they’ve been sanctioned already before?

https://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/public-register/regulatory-actions/full

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I’ve only had a quick skim through this thread, but have you tried registering with https://www.gamstop.co.uk/ This should, I think, close any accounts set up in your name and prevent others being opened.

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