Identity theft occurs when a criminal deliberately steals your personal information in order to commit identity fraud. Fraudsters are able to find out information about you in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Stealing your personal mail - communal areas in blocks of flats are a particular risk for this kind of identity theft.
  • Making calls, sending text message (known as smishing) or sending emails (known as phishing) in which the fraudster poses as your bank or other financial organisation and requests personal information.
  • Your details could also be stolen following an online data breach at a company or organisation that holds personal information about you.

Once a thief has enough of your personal information, such as your date of birth, your address and some financial information, they could be ready to start using the details to commit identity fraud. These experienced fraudsters understand just how the system works so it's likely they'll set up a postal redirect to ensure no account information is sent to your address.

If a bank account is needed for the credit card application the fraudster will simply provide fake details - not difficult data to come by if you're already making a living as a criminal.

The fraudsters have now successfully cut you out of the loop. No sign of this type of fraud will show up in your bank accounts, and no letters will be sent to you about missed payments. All of this has happened silently and invisibly, giving you no possible opportunity to prevent it.

Has your loan application been refused due to identity theft?

People sometimes only realise they're a victim of identity theft when they're unexpectedly turned down for a loan or credit card, check their Credit Report and discover something they don't recognise.

For instance, a new credit card, store card or loan could have been taken out in your name by a fraudster and any outstanding debts or missed repayments will have had a negative impact on your credit report.

For many discovering that they're the victim of identity theft and that their details have been used for identity fraud is an upsetting experience. It's also often a shock to discover how serious the consequences can be:

  • Identity theft which leads to identity fraud could be very harmful to your credit history.
  • You could be pursued for unpaid debts that aren't yours, your bank accounts could be frozen and county court proceedings could even be initiated.
  • Your ability to get loans or even employment may be restricted and it's damage that can take a long time to undo.
  • Valuable Document Store - we provide a secure, central place to store any important documents so that if they're ever lost or stolen you'll have all your reference numbers to help speed up the delivery of replacements.
  • Personalised Identity theft risk assessment – our easy-to-use online tool helps you assess your potential vulnerability to identity theft and suggests ways you could reduce the threat.
  • CIFAS Protective Registration – if you inform us that any items containing your personal details are lost or stolen, by registering your details with CIFAS, the UK's fraud prevention service, any credit applications made in your name will need to be directly authenticated by you.

Our Fraud Resolution Specialists could help

If you suspect that your identity has been stolen it could be a good idea to take the following steps:

  • First log in and request your PrivacyGuard Credit Report and look through all the financial commitments in your name
  • Check whether there's anything you don't recognise, or if there are records of any credit searches you don't remember authorising.
  • If you discover criminal activity we'll assign one of our experienced Fraud Resolution Specialists to act on your behalf and to help to ensure any incorrect information is removed.
  • To help prevent any fraud from taking place in the future our Credit Profile Monitoring Service will send you regular alerts, helping you quickly identify anything out of the ordinary.