The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team has found, through interviews with convicted offenders, that your signature is often the final piece in a puzzle that could allow criminals to access your bank account or commit identity crime.
In one of these post-conviction interviews, a fraudster said: “If we want to get someone’s signature it’s really easy. All we do is put on a fluorescent coat or vest, knock on the door and ask the person to sign for a letter or a flyer”.
“They don’t need signing for but nobody ever questions why and we don’t hang around for a chat! Once we have the signature we can make changes on their bank accounts and authorise fraudulent money transfers.”
The NFIB is recommending that householders follow the following guidelines:
Not expecting a delivery? Be suspicious.
Question what you are signing for, look for official identification and if you do sign, just print your name.
Check your bank and financial statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned.
Criminals commit different frauds depending on the type of the personal information they manage to steal. Your identity is a precious commodity; you should take every precaution to ensure that it isn’t abused or stolen.
According to the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign, one in four UK residents have fallen victim to an identity crime, losing on average £1,200 each. And that’s to say nothing of the distress caused, plus the inconvenience (taking as much as 200 hours of a persons’ or businesses’ time to sort out the resultant mess).
Fraud can be reported to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via the online fraud reporting tool - http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
There is also a free Action Fraud Alert for direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message. http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/support-and-prevention/sign-up-to-action-fraud-alert