Identity theft is the unlawful taking of another person’s details without their permission. The information stolen can be used to obtain many financial services, goods and other forms of identification i.e. Passports and Driving Licences.

The information stolen can range from a copy of birth certificate to copies of discarded bank or credit card statements and utility bills.

Once the criminals have copies of someone’s identity they can embark on criminal activity in their name with the knowledge that any follow up investigations will not lead automatically to them. With your details they can obtain documents that are in essence real but containing false information thus making it difficult for organisations to know who they really are dealing with.

In order to limit your exposure to the possibility of identity theft and the improper use of your personal details the Royal Gibraltar Police advise the following:

· Be careful with your personal information. If you receive a telephone call from a credit card company, bank or other retail company asking to confirm certain details about yourself decline them and ask to call them back preferably through a central switchboard.

· Do not release your personal, bank, or credit card details in response to e-mails informing you of suspect lottery wins, inheritance entitlements. Also be very weary of other unsolicited but very seemingly attractive methods of receiving monies where you are requested to divulge personal account details, credit card security numbers etc.

· When destroying personal correspondence such as bank and credit card statements consider a shredder. If you cannot then tear the papers up into very small pieces and place in the refuse bin with other waste products.

· If you move address remember to inform all of the companies that send personal information to you in the post. Always consider re-directing your post with the Gibraltar Post Office. If you fail to do this people moving in might have free access to your personal details and misappropriate them.

To ascertain whether you are a victim of this type of fraud you should check the following:

· Are you missing your regular monthly statements?

· Have you noticed charges to your accounts that are not yours? Remember to check all statements especially bank and credit card.

· Have you been contacted by person(s) about outstanding payments for items or services that you have not ordered?

If you have any suspicions that you may be a victim of fraud do not ignore the problem, contact the Royal Gibraltar Police Financial Crime Unit for advice, telephone (350) 200 74374

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