ALCESTER police are urging residents to shred all letters or documents with their name and address on it rather than throw them away.
The plea comes as part of their ‘Read it? Shred it’ campaign to stamp out identity fraud.
“Obtaining a person’s identity, in the form of their personal details, gives criminals the opportunity to commit identity crime, such as fraud,” said a spokesperson.
“Fraudsters may be able to take over someone’s existing bank accounts, open new ones, obtain credit cards, loans and mobile phone contracts, order goods and get genuine documents in that person’s name.
“Identity fraud was the largest fraud carried out against individuals, nationally, according to the Annual Fraud Indicator 2016, estimated at £5.4billion a year.
“We are urging people to be aware of the risk of this type of crime and to make sure they follow some simple steps to reduce the chances of falling victim.”
Officers say that before throwing something away, think about the personal details it contains and how they could be used by a fraudster.
They advise people to shred receipts containing card details on and post showing your name and address.
The spokesperson added:
“A quick way of remembering some top tips:
“S – Shred documents containing personal details before throwing them away.
“M – Make sure passwords are nonsensical. Use letters, numbers and symbols.
“A – Always use legitimate and up-to-date antivirus software.
“R – Remain vigilant. Think before you input or email your personal details.
“T – Think Phishing. Could that email be from a fraudster trying to get hold of your personal details?
“For further information on staying safe online go to Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org ) and Cyber Streetwise (www.cyberstreetwise.com.)
Victims of fraud should report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 20 40 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
“Our key message is – ‘there’s only one you; keep it that way’.”