Fraudsters Only Need These 3 Details To Steal Your Identity
How many times have you called an online help centre and been asked to go through ‘security’ before they will help you? Odds are almost every time. But what are these security questions? Often, they follow the same pattern – your full name, your date of birth and your address. So it’s not surprising that in order to steal your identity, a criminal only needs 3 pieces of information, most of which can be found on your Facebook page.
Here we don’t just mean your first name, we mean your full, given name, as it appears on your birth certificate. Now if you run a business, have ever run a credit report or even just like to fill things in completely, your full name is out there for anyone to find. In fact, a YouGov poll found that a third of British adults with an online presence include their full names as part of their profile information – with younger people even more likely to include it. With your full name, a criminal can easily pose as you, or go digging for more information that can be found online. Like, for example:
Your Date Of Birth
Now you might think that your date of birth isn’t very easy to find – especially if you’re savvy and have hidden your personal details from social media profiles, or not put them in at all. It’s a crucial piece of identifying information, because it’s the only detail that will never change. But criminals can easily figure it out by browsing back through your profile and watching out for posts from your friends saying happy birthday, with reference to your age. This simply activity will give them the day, month and year of your birth, answering that second security question.
To get past security question number 3, they will need to know your address. Once they have your date of birth, tracking down where you live isn’t difficult. Online directories hold huge quantities of information, from addresses, phone numbers and even a list of your past and present housemates. Some sites even offer free searches for information, and scrape their data from the electoral roll. This can all be pieces together to help them pass that third security question, allowing criminals to proceed to the next step.
Rather than jumping straight into filing for new credit cards in your name, the next step for identity thieves will be to obtain fake documents using your details. These can be easily ordered online through various illegal sites. In fact, the Telegraph found one such site, ‘which promised high quality passports that included security features such as watermarks, microprinting and security threads. The site claims these would be “no different from the original documents”’. Such sites also offer fake driving licenses and other documentation, such as fake utility bills, for as little as £500. Using this documentation, a criminal can now open up accounts or take out credit in your name. They will then try to intercept the documents sent from the bank, often by targeting addresses with shared or open access to post.
You might be thinking, ‘how does this affect my business?’ But as a criminal, fraudulent access to a business owner’s identity also gives them access to the business. Because of this, business owners almost have double the risk, for both their own money and their businesses. For more information on safeguarding your business form identity theft, get in touch with the Indigo IT team today.