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Monday, 29 June 2015

Identity theft

Thames Valley Police is today launching an awareness campaign encouraging people to protect their personal information.

The ‘Not With My Name’ campaign, produced in partnership with the City of London Police (National Policing Lead for Fraud), is targeting identity crime in our communities.

According to crime prevention service Cifas there were 1,482 cases of identity fraud reported in Buckinghamshire, 945 reported in Oxfordshire and 2,141 reported in Berkshire in 2014.

Identity fraud can lead to inconvenience and distress with victims spending on average of 200 hours of their personal or businesses time to resolve.

Victims often find money has been removed from their bank or their account has been taken over, a fraudulent passport or driving licence has been created in their name, or loans, mortgages and mobile phone contracts have been set-up using their identity.

The proceeds of identity crime are often used to fund further criminal activity.

To combat this rising threat the ‘Not With My Name’ campaign will highlight advice to help 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 Thames Valley Police Facebook and Twitter accounts and there will be a national Twitter chat, hosted by @actionfrauduk, at 5pm today (29/6).

Detective Inspector Gavin Tyrrell of Thames Valley Police’s Economic Crime Unit said: “Identity crime, the creation of a false identity or the misuse of a genuine identity, affects people as they are going about their day to day lives.
“Normal things like online shopping can become a risk and identity crime deters vulnerable people and communities from taking part.
“The proceeds of identity crime can be used to fund serious and organised crime.
“That’s why it’s so vital members of the public can take simple steps to protect their personal information and safeguard against identity fraud.
“Simple things like changing your social media settings or creating safe passwords all make a difference.
“By working together and sharing these identity crime prevention tips we can reduce opportunities for identity fraud across the Thames Valley.”

The campaign is being supported nationally by police forces and organisations including Action Fraud, Get Safe Online, Cifas, FFA UK, Age UK and Experian.

City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, said:
 “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.”

For more identity fraud prevention advice visit the Thames Valley Police website.
 Individuals and businesses that have fallen victim to a fraud facilitated by an identity crime should report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.