06 Mar 2012

PERSONAL DATA VIGILANCE IS VITAL

PERSONAL DATA VIGILANCE IS VITAL

Equifax highlights importance of monitoring changes on credit reports as CIFAS reports that data misuse or the creation of a completely new identity accounted for 58% of all frauds in 2011

www.equifax.co.uk

London - 6th March 2012 - Leading ID fraud expert, Equifax, is warning that consumers need to be more vigilant than ever when it comes to their personal data, as CIFAS, the UK’s fraud prevention service, reports that fraud has reached a new high. And crime using stolen or false identities accounts for the greatest proportion of fraud according to CIFAS.

Neil Munroe who is both Chair of the Identity Fraud Communications Awareness Group (IFCAG) and External Affairs Director, Equifax is available to provide expert comment on ID fraud and theft and give advice for consumers on how to protect themselves from fraud.

“The CIFAS Fraudscape Report confirms what those of us working in the identity fraud arena already believed that the incidence of fraudsters using people’s identities for criminal gain is on the rise” said Neil Munroe. “And this means people need to be more vigilant than ever about their personal data. Indeed, CIFAS highlights the importance of data to the organised fraudster. CIFAS believes that data is a ‘new currency’ with its own intrinsic value. Using a service that monitors your credit report - alerting you to any changes to the data - could, therefore, be the best first-line defence against ID fraud and theft.

“It’s clear from the CIFAS report that fraudsters are getting more unscrupulous and determined and sadly many fraud victims know the person who has committed fraud against them. So when it comes to personal information, it’s vital not to make it easy for fraudsters by being too trusting. Fraudsters only need to obtain three pieces of personal information to be able to obtain goods or money in their name so common-sense and vigilance are key.”

Equifax advice to limit someone’s chances of becoming a fraud victim includes:

  • Never disclose your PIN number to anyone - no matter how much you trust them
  • Never disclose your PIN, internet passwords or usernames either
  • Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts
  • Ensure your computer screen is password protected and locked when you leave it unattended
  • Never leave personal financial documents lying around and be wary of those near you when doing online banking
  • If you are using a public computer make sure you log out of sites, rather than just closing the window.
  • Never give out your personal details on the phone or by email your bank will NEVER ask you to divulge your PIN
  • 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
  • Apply for a copy of your credit file to look out for any unauthorised activity

Tackling the threat of identity theft and fraud, Equifax Identity Watch™ Pro gives consumers unlimited, 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.

Neil Munroe can provide comment and advice on preventative measures both individuals and businesses can take to protect themselves from these threats.

END

Neil Munroe can be contacted at the Equifax Press Office: For further press information please contact: Louise Fowler, Clare Watson or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email: louise@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 17 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.