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How private is your personal information? And what to do to protect it


These people ‘liked’ a Facebook page for a free coffee – what happened next?

Follow these simple steps to safeguard your personal information:

Not With My Name

More than one in four of us living in the UK has fallen victim to an identity crime, losing on average £1,200 each*. The knock-on effects can also be huge, causing massive personal distress and inconvenience and taking up to 200 hours of a person’s or business’s time to fix.

To add to the problem, most people usually don’t know their personal information has been compromised until it is too late, finding that:

  • Money has been withdrawn from their bank account without permission
  • A fraudulent passport or driving licence has been created in their name
  • Loans, mortgages or mobile phone contracts have been set up in their name.

The good news is you can take several simple steps to safeguard your personal information. To reach as many people as possible with this necessary advice, the City of London Police/Action Fraud, supported by the Metropolitan Police Service, Experian, Cifas, FFA UK, Get Safe Online and Cyberstreetwise, is running a national campaign to raise awareness of this problem.

Please take the time to read the pages listed below. You can also download the leaflet to share with family and friends using the campaign hashtag #NotWithMyName.

Tip 1: Be careful who you give your personal information to...and how

  • Be very cautious about giving personal information – age, address, phone number, etc – to people you don’t know.
  • In public places, make sure nobody can hear your conversations or look over your shoulder when banking, shopping or making other confidential online transactions.
  • Be careful with the amount of personal information you share online. Only make the minimum available (your name) on internet profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and don’t post your address or date of birth.

Tip 2: Make it as difficult as possible to crack your passwords

  • Create strong passwords and use different ones for different accounts. For a secure password:
    • Use three words or more, include a symbol, and use upper and lower case letters and numbers.
  • Remember, the more complex and unique your password is, the harder it is to crack. Also, don’t keep a note of passwords where they could be lost or stolen – such as in your wallet or next to your device. For more information about staying safe online, visit  or .

Tip 3: Always destroy or securely store personal documents

  • Check your bank and financial statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the bank or financial service provider concerned. When removing personal documents, permanently destroy them – rip up or shred them.
  • If you have a communal mailbox or one in a shared area, empty it frequently.
  • If you move home, set up a redirection with Royal Mail for at least a year and notify your bank, credit card companies and other organisations you deal with ASAP. Only 29% of British adults report redirecting their posts when they move house.

Tip 4: Don’t respond to unsolicited phone calls or emails

  • Fraudsters increasingly target people over the telephone, posing as bank staff, police officers and other officials or companies to extract personal and financial information. Often, the fraudster will claim there has been fraud on your account and that you need to take action.

Your bank or the police will never:

  • Phone you to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password.
  • Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons.
  • Send someone to your home to collect your cash, PIN, payment card or chequebook

If you are given any of these instructions, you’re being targeted by fraudsters.

  • Hang up, wait five minutes to clear the line, or use a different phone line, then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud.
  • For more information, visit

If you receive unsolicited emails, do not reply and do not share passwords, login details or account details. Don’t click on links, as you could end up downloading a virus (malware).

Tip 5: Protect your devices.

  • Protect all your internet-connected devices – computer, tablet, TV, mobile phone – by installing internet security software and ensuring that it is up-to-date.
  • Make sure access to your devices is password protected.



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