How can I reclaim my identity and prevent further fraud?

Dear James,

I have discovered that I am a victim of fraud. Someone has been using my personal details as well as my bank card details to order items from catalogues and also sign up to mobile phone contracts. Fortunately, I received letters in the post confirming these orders. I then cancelled all orders and no money was taken from my accounts. I will close my bank account and open a new one. Is there anything else I need to do?

Shah, London

Dear Shah,

While it appears that you’ve successfully foiled these applications, it is quite possible that this is just the tip of the iceberg. The steps you have taken so far are very sensible, along with your plan to alert your bank and change your banking details. What you should now do is obtain copies of your credit reports from each of the three credit reference agencies. This will enable you to check the full extent of the impersonation.

I’m pleased to say that all three credit reference agencies work together to help victims of identity fraud, so you only need to initially contact one of them about the fraud. If you wish to contact Experian, simply call us on 0344 481 8000. Whichever agency you contact will alert the other two agencies for you. Each agency will provide you with a free credit report, give you advice on its contents and explain the measures you may be able to take to secure your identity. For instance, it might be wise to arrange a Cifas Protective Registration, which will alert the vast majority of banks, lenders and other financial institutions to the theft of your identity.

Once you’ve shored up your identity, if you decide you want to monitor you credit report for fraud going forwards you may wish to check out Experian’s CreditExpert service. You can also monitor your Experian Credit Score for free for any changes, or order a one-off copy of your statutory credit report for free. (March 2012, updated April 2018)


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