Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when some or all those details are used to commit fraud such as opening a bank account or obtaining a credit card.

If your personal details  are obtained illegally the thief will use some or all of your details to:

  • Access your bank account or credit card
  • Open a bank account, credit card or loan in your name
  • Obtain a mobile phone or official document such as a driving licence or passport

It is likely that the first indication that it has happened to you is when you receive invoices for things you haven’t ordered, or when you receive letters concerning debts that aren’t yours.

Fraud falls within the remit of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to reduce the risk of financial crime. 

Take Five is a national campaign that offers straight-forward and impartial advice to help everyone protect themselves from financial fraud. 

Identity theft is an increasingly common crime and according to Experian's Victims of Fraud team, it takes an average of 246 days to discover identity theft, therefore many victims are unaware that they have been targeted and could be in for a financial shock.

Find out how likely are you to be a victim of one of the world's fastest growing cyber crimes by taking this test at Barclays.

If you are a victim of identity theft or a scam there are some safeguards to help you get back the money you have lost. An explanation of what you may be liable for and how to get money refunded is available from MoneyHelper.

A detailed explanation of what to do if you think your bank details may have been compromised, can be found at Which? Consumer Rights.

More information, including measures to substantially reduce the chance of your identity being stolen and what to do in order to minimize the damage if you become a victim of this crime, is available at the following links:

A free, online course explaining how to protect yourself from Identity Theft and the steps you can take to minimize damage if you become a victim of this crime, is available at

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