Protecting your identity
Preventing ID theft
Identity theft occurs when fraudsters use your personal information without your knowledge or consent to take out bank accounts, credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in your name.
It is becoming all too easy and common and the results can be devastating for individuals. Here is some information on how you can protect yourself:
Keep your personal information secure
- Protect your post, and anything you print from the internet. Shred any personal documents you don’t need
- Use the Royal Mail redirection service if you move home. Advise the Bank immediately of your new address
- If you suspect your mail is being stolen, contact the Royal Mail Customer Enquiry Line on 0845 774 0740, to check whether a mail redirection order has been made in your name without your knowledge
- Check your personal credit file regularly, particularly if you've recently moved house, as this will help you spot any fraudulent activity that may have been conducted in your name. Callcredit, Equifax and Experian all offer credit reports
- Look out for phishing emails, which appear to come from financial institutions asking you to confirm account details. You can usually report these emails to the financial institutions they claim to come from and help close the net on fraudsters. Banks would never ask customers to confirm account details by email.
- With the rise in popularity of social networking sites there are increased avenues for fraudsters to operate. These sites work by building networks and communications between individuals. They encourage us to divulge greater amounts of personal information about ourselves than ever before, sharing information, chat and photos online. These sites can be a lot of fun but at the same time there are some risks associated with placing information about yourself online. Children are especially susceptible to the risks presented by social networking sites. For more information, visit the Information Commissioner's pages for young people (http://www.ico.gov.uk/youth.aspx)
Keep your cards and belongings safe
- Be wary of ‘shoulder-surfers’ – people behind you in queues at the till or at the cash machine, trying to see you enter your PIN. When you hand over your card to make an in-store purchase, don’t let it out of your sight
- Don’t use the ATM if you think it’s been tampered with, and report your suspicions to the bank
- Cancel any lost or stolen cards immediately. Make a list of your card issuers’ emergency numbers and keep them handy
- Keep your wallet/purse, mobile phone, debit card, cheque book and any personal effects out of sight and reach. Never leave such items on display in your car
- See Protecting your debit and credit cards for more tips
Keep your documents safe
- Read your bank statement as soon as you receive it, and Contact us to report any transactions you don’t recognise
- Store personal documents, statements, bills, and confidential letters securely. Ideally use our online statements instead and reduce the risk of your statements being intercepted
- Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder. Never throw away entire bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post in your name
Keep your passwords and PINs safe
- Use different PIN's and passwords for each account or application. Do not write down your PIN in a recognisable form and never tell anyone what it is. Bank of Cyprus staff will never ask for your full PIN or password
- Regularly change your passwords and if you think someone may know your password you should change it immediately
- Make sure that your password consists of letters and numbers. To make it harder to guess:
- The minimum length of a password should be 8 characters.
- The maximum length of a password should not exceed 20 characters.
- Your password should contain at least one digit, one upper and lower case letter and one special character (e.g. £, $, %,! etc.)
- Spaces should not be used in between password characters
- Your new password should ideally be different from any of your previous 5 passwords
Protect the identity of loved ones who have passed away
Fraudsters sometimes use the identities of people who have died. You can reduce the chance of this happening by removing their details from mailing lists.
Organisations that offer this service include:
If you suspect that you have been the victim of any kind of fraud or you notice any suspicious transactions on your Bank of Cyprus UK account, then contact us immediately.
For further information about protecting your identity, visit Get Safe Online.