Outline: Protecting your identity on line in order to reduce identity fraud and information on how to complain and who to complain to in the UK The crime that is on the increase, more than any other in today’s rapidly growing online community, is that of identity fraud. Whilst individuals are always careful to lock up their doors and windows, secure their cars and vehicles, check what information they put out with the rubbish, they still seem to forget the invisible criminal who can log on and infiltrate your life, via the computer. However, there are a number of simple steps you can take to protect your online identity and also a number of genuine consumer helplines, banking and federal agencies, plus government websites to give you advice and explain how to complain, and who to lodge a complaint with, if you have been targeted. First of all taking steps to protect your identity on line is not that difficult, but you do have to be aware of exactly what it is you are posting. For example, many websites will ask for personal details and many are genuine, as they do need to verify you are, who you say you are. If you are posting your full date of birth, check exactly who is going to have access to this information. It is safer not to post the full date publicly, as this is one of the main pieces of information that can make you very vulnerable to identity fraud. Next, many sites ask for passwords or secure answers and the most popular one is to ask you to use your mother’s maiden name. If someone has access to your details, this is quite easy to look up on line, so you could risk exposing access to your bank accounts. So, don’t use your mothers real maiden name when first asked for it, give another surname that only you will know and remember. Then, consider setting up a personal social media account that is separate from any work accounts, in the personal account get a nickname and use that instead of your real name. Guard your personal details and make sure that this information is not publicly available, keep it to friends and family, and be wary of posting photographs and videos of yourself on line. Once they are out there, other people can use them for ID purposes. If you do find that you have been the victim of identity fraud then you need to contact CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, along with the police who will issue you with a crime number. For financial online fraud, then Bank Safe online or the Home Office Fraud Prevention team are extremely helpful, and depending on the nature of the crime they will issue more advice on who to complain to as well. For goods and services that have been bought in your name, then you will need to look up the Consumer Protection regulations and Consumer Protection law to see how you are covered in any cases of online fraudulent purchasing. Otherwise, whenever posting anything personal on line, a good rule of thumb is to stop and think before pressing the send button, is it a secure site, and are you happy that others have access to this data, and if you aren’t, then don’t send.
Author Bio: Author is doing research and writing article on how to complain in The UK.