Police in Norfolk and Suffolk today, Monday June 29, launched an awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.
The ‘Not With My Name’ campaign, produced in partnership with the National Policing Lead for Fraud, the City of London Police is targeting identity crime in our communities.
Identity fraud is an offence that one in four UK adults – 12.275 million people - is believed to have fallen victim to, losing on average £1,200 each. Total losses to the UK adult population are estimated to be £3.3 billion.*
In the first quarter of 2015 there was a 27% increase in identity fraud. The average age of a victim was 46, with men being 1.7 times more likely than women to have their identity stolen.
The knock-on effects range from the inconvenient to the highly distressing, with issues taking on average 200 hours of a person or businesses time to resolve.
Victims often find that money has been removed from their bank or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving license has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.
The wider effects for society are also concerning with the proceeds of identity crime often being used to fund further criminal activity.
Detective Superintendent Steve Mattin said: “As more and more people across Norfolk and Suffolk use the internet to carry out personal and business matters, it is vital they take the necessary precautions to keep their personal details safe. You wouldn’t leave your house without leaving your home secure and the same principles need to apply online.
“I would urge everyone to treat their personal details as precious and to make small changes online and offline to ensure they don’t get their identity stolen.”
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said: “Identity crime - the creation of a false identity or the misuse of a genuine identity – is a key facilitator to committing further criminality, evading detection from law enforcement and laundering criminal profits. What many of us do not appreciate is the sheer scale of the problem, with one in four adults believed to have been a victim.
“To really get to grips with identity crime requires us all to come together and share advice on how to protect our personal information at home, in the workplace and while out in public places. Following the top tips provided by the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will help people better understand the nature and scale of the threat they face which in turn will hopefully make them much less likely to fall victim to this type of offence.”
To combat this rising threat the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will be highlighting advice focused on helping people protect their personal information. This will include pointers on creating safe passwords, protecting internet devices, dealing with unsolicited phone calls and emails, and safely storing and disposing of mail.
These messages will be shared across the country, with the campaign being supported by 35 local police forces and organisations that include Get Safe Online, Cifas, FFA UK, Age UK and Experian.
A key part of the campaign will be delivered across police force Facebook and Twitter accounts and on June 29th at 5pm there will be a national Twitter chat, hosted by @actionfrauduk.
Individuals and businesses that have fallen victim to a fraud facilitated by an identity crime should report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at www.actionfraud.police.uk.