Callcredit Links Up with Home Office

Campaign to Combat Identity Theft

Credit reference agency Callcredit has teamed up with the Home Office in a major initiative to combat the growing problem of identity theft.

The agency is to distribute Home Office leaflets to consumers throughout the UK, advising them on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft and what action to take if they do become a victim.

Individuals who think they may have been a victim or are worried about identity theft can download a leaflet from the consumer advice section at www.callcredit.plc.uk or they can request a copy by contacting the Consumer Services team at Callcredit on 0113 2441555 or emailing info@callcredit.plc.uk.

As part of the initiative, Callcredit is also offering a free month's trial of its MyCallcredit e-alert credit monitoring service, which gives consumers an early warning of potential identity theft. To sign up for a month's free e-alert credit monitoring service visit www.callcredit.plc.uk or www.myfreecreditreport.co.uk.

Identity theft affects more than 100,000 people every year in the UK. It occurs when personal information is obtained by someone else without the owner's knowledge and typically leads to fraud, deception, or obtaining benefits and services in the victim's name. Government estimates put the cost to the UK economy at more than £1.3 billion a year.

Home Office Minister Andy Burnham said:

"Credit reference agencies play a key role in detecting and preventing identity fraud. I welcome Callcredit's decision to work with the Home Office to combat identity fraud by co-branding and distributing Home Office identity theft leaflets.

The leaflet will provide advice to victims of identity fraud, who contact Callcredit, on how to put their records straight and guidance to others on how to protect their identity.

This is another good example of the public and private sectors working together to reduce crime."

Alison Nicholson, MyCallcredit director, said:

"Criminals can use stolen personal details to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, loans, state benefits and other documents in your name.

However, there are some very simple and practical ways in which the public can protect themselves from identity theft, for example everyone should shred personal documents such as bills, receipts, statements and even unwanted post.

Also, regularly checking their credit file will ensure they are quickly alerted to any fraudulent attempts to obtain credit in their name. An e-alert service will minimise the consequences of becoming a victim of ID theft.

Callcredit is delighted to be helping the Home Office communicate these messages."

The leaflet, titled 'Identity Theft - Don't become a victim', advises that you may be at risk of becoming a victim of identity fraud if you:

  • lose or have had important documents stolen such as passports or driving licences;
  • don't receive post that you expect to, for example from a bank.

Indicators that you might have had your identity stolen include:

  • items appearing on your bank or credit-card statements or your credit file that you do not recognise;
  • applying for a state benefit and being told that you are already claiming;
  • receiving bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven't asked for;
  • being refused a financial service, such as a credit card or loan, despite having a good credit history;
  • having a mobile-phone contract set up in your name without your knowledge; receiving letters from solicitors or debt collectors for debts that aren't yours.
  1. The leaflet 'Identity Theft - Don't become a victim' was produced by the Home Office Identity Fraud Steering Committee and launched by Home Office Minister Andy Burnham to announce the second phase of the public awareness campaign.
  2. Guidance to prevent identity theft is also available at www.identity-theft.org.uk. The website was launched in July 2004.
  3. The Home Office set up the Identity Fraud Steering Committee (IFSC) to lead a cross public-private sector work programme to tackle identity theft and identity fraud and share details about new initiatives. The Committee is made up of representatives of: APACS; the Association of Chief PoliceOfficers; the British Bankers Association; CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service; the Department for Constitutional Affairs; the Department of Work and Pensions/ Jobcentre Plus; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; the Finance and Leasing Association; the Financial Services Authority; HM Revenue & Customs; the Home Office and the UK Passport Service.
  4. The Identity Fraud Consumer Awareness Group is a sub-group of the IFSC. As well as representatives from the Home Office and law enforcement agencies, the group comprises members from: APACS; the British Bankers' Association; CIFAS, The UK's Fraud Prevention Service; the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency; the Financial Services Authority; Royal Mail; the UK Passport Service and the UK's three credit reference agencies.