Identity theft

Identity theft is when your personal information is stolen and used to commit fraud, like accessing your bank account or taking out a loan in your name.

To steal your identity, fraudsters need to get their hands on some personal identifying information from you, such as your name, address, email, passwords, driving licence number, passport number or bank details.

They can do this in person, by going through your post or rubbish to find things like bank statements or tax information. Or by sending fraudulent emails and texts that pressure you into sharing personal information or downloading an attachment that scans your phone or computer to steal your details.

Methods of identity theft to be aware of
  1. A fraudster may use your personal information to access your online accounts, such as your online banking, email or social media. They can use these accounts to find out more information about you or to withdraw money and apply for loans or credit cards in your name.

  2. Using your personal information, fraudsters can create fake identity documents that look like they belong to you, such as a passport or driving licence. They can use these to apply for bank accounts, credit cards and loans in your name, as well as making purchases or withdrawing money from your accounts.  

  3. Rather than creating fake identity documents, a fraudster could request a new driving licence in your name and have it sent to their own address. They can use this to open new accounts and apply for loans or credit cards in your name without your knowledge.

How to protect yourself from identity theft

  • Keep your documents safe

To reduce the risk of identity theft, you should store any documents carrying personal information — such as your driving licence, passport, bank statements, utility bills or credit card bills — in a secure place. Before you throw away any old documents, you should shred them so they can’t be read.  

  • Review your statements

Monitor your credit report and regularly check your credit card and bank statements for suspicious activity. If you notice anything unusual, report it to your bank immediately. 

  • Be prepared when moving

When moving house, take the time to contact businesses you hold accounts with to give them your new address — you don’t want the new tenants to have access to letters containing your personal information. You can also redirect your mail by contacting Royal Mail.  

  • Remember, less is more

Be wary of sharing personal details. The less you give away about yourself, the lower the risk of information falling into the wrong hands. 

  • Stick to secure websites

When using the internet, make sure the website has a padlock symbol and 'https' in the address bar — this means it’s secure. Before buying anything, you should always review the privacy and returns policies.  

What to do if you think you've been a victim of identity theft

If you think you may have been a victim of identity theft, it's important to act quickly to try to avoid the fraudster getting their hands on your money. Here's what you should do:
  1. Report all lost or stolen documents, such as passports, driving licences, credit cards and cheque books to the organisation that issued them.

  2. Let your bank, building society and credit card company know of any unusual transactions on your statement. Explain the situation and ask them to freeze or close your accounts. Once they’ve been notified, they’ll take extra precautions to look out for suspicious activity.

  3. Contact credit reference agencies (such as Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) to request a copy of your statutory credit report. Check this for any errors, suspicious searches or unknown addresses. It's also a good idea to sign up to one of the free, app-based services offered by these agencies so you can regularly monitor your credit file.

  4. Contact your local police station and Action Fraud to report your concerns. It’s helpful to provide them with any supporting information or evidence you may have, such as receipts, statements or correspondence with the fraudster — so make sure to keep a record of all the conversations you have with various providers.

  5. Request protective registration from Cifas, the UK’s leading fraud-prevention service. Doing this means they’ll place a warning flag against your name and other personal details in their national fraud database. This tells an organisation that your details may have been accessed by a fraudster and to carry out extra checks to make sure it’s really you if applications are made in your name.

If you think you might have been a victim of identity theft at Zopa, please let us know immediately and we’ll investigate.  

How to report fraud

If you think you might have been a victim of fraud or notice a suspicious transaction on your Zopa account, please get in touch. 


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