New research from CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, has revealed it is the time taken to sort out the problems caused by fraud that has the greatest impact on victims. In response Equifax, the leading instant online credit information provider, is urging consumers to use the tools available to them to prevent fraud occurring in the first place as well as act on it quickly if they do become victim.
“We are not at all surprised to see that 41.9% of respondents to the CIFAS survey said the time wasted trying to clear up the mess of fraud was the biggest loss”, said Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. Also Chair of the Identity Fraud Communications Awareness Group (IFCAG), Neil Munroe believes it’s crucial that consumers take preventative measures to reduce the risk of fraud as well as arm themselves with the knowledge to able to take action as soon as fraud takes place, to reduce that loss.
“Many ID fraud victims simply don’t know that they’ve been targeted and they only realise there’s a problem when they try to take out new credit or check their credit report” continued Neil Munroe. “That’s why we introduced our alerts services that tell consumers whenever any information changes on their credit report. This is both a powerful preventative measure against ID fraud as well as helping consumers act quickly if they do become victims.”
The Equifax ID fraud alerts prompt consumers to check their credit report whenever any change occurs to their data. This could be a credit search registered by a lender when someone attempts to obtain credit in the victim’s name. Acting on this information, the innocent party can quickly get in touch with the lender to confirm that they did not authorise the search, hopefully preventing fraud from occurring.
Or it could be when a new credit agreement is registered against an individual. Whilst this means the fraud has already taken place, the victim will still be able to act quickly to confirm to the lender that they have been subject to a fraudulent application.
Tackling the threat of identity theft and fraud, Equifax Identity Watch Pro gives consumers unlimited instant, easy online access to their latest credit file, with automatic alerts within 24 hours of key changes to their credit report. It costs £7.50 per month. Or for just £2.99 per month, Equifax Identity Watch Lite makes monitoring a credit report easy by automatically alerting the individual within seven days of key changes.
“As fraudsters are getting more unscrupulous and determined, consumers must remain on their guard and review the measures they are taking to protect their personal details” concluded Neil Munroe. “Sadly many fraud victims know the person who has committed fraud against them, so when it comes to your personal information, it’s vital not to make it easy for fraudsters by being too trusting. And receiving alerts to any changes in their credit information will give victims a vital head-start if they have been targeted by fraudsters.”
If you think you have become a victim of fraud, alert your banks and credit reference agencies immediately.
You can notify CIFAS, which runs a Protective Registration service and a notice will be placed on your credit file informing lenders that you may be at risk of identity fraud on 0870 010 2091
You can also call Action fraud for advice and support on 0300 123 2040 or visit their website www.actionfraud.org.uk