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As identity theft soars by 43%, experts issue online safety tips for Christmas

With identity theft figures predicted to soar by 43% in the coming months, more online scammers than ever are hacking user’s identities to steal from their victims. 

In order to help protect yourself, the experts at have compiled some valuable tips on how to keep your identity safe from online scammers this festive season.

What does identity theft look like? 

Identity theft occurs when scammers use another person’s personal identifying information, such as their namebank details or stolen cards fraudulently to spend money online. Experts warn that Christmas is one of the most lucrative times of the year for fraudsters, with as many as 8% of UK consumers reporting being affected by identity fraud at Christmas time and 43% saying their identity was stolen while shopping online.

How do I keep my identity safe?

Scam expert Nicholas Crouch from has provided the following tips to help keep your identity from being stolen online: 

1. Never share your financial or personal information

“Don’t share your personal or financial information with anyone. This includes never writing your banking details down.” If you are able to memorise your information, this can be the safest option, but if you do need to write down your details, make sure this is kept in a safe place and not taken with you when shopping. Trustworthy retailers will never ask you for your PIN, CVC number or other identifying online banking information.

2. Stay vigilant with regular bank statement checks 

‘Check your bank statements regularly and keep an eye out for any suspicious transactions that you don’t recognise. This can help you realise quickly if someone has access to your account details and you can then alert your bank and get your card blocked.” If you notice an unfamiliar transaction, it is important to alert your bank immediately to get the card blocked. Most banks have a dedicated fraud action line, where you can report the theft and request a refund.

3. Keep an eye on your cards and know what to do in an emergency

“If you lose or have your card stolen, contact your bank immediately to freeze the card. Many online banks now let you do this directly from their app too, helping to speed up the process.” It may be useful to have your bank’s details and phone number available, so you can contact them if needed. 

4. Be wary of suspicious emails or texts

“Do not reply to text messages or emails if you can’t be sure they’re genuine. A good hard and fast rule is to never give out private, personal information. This includes information such as your bank details or passwords, no company should ever be asking for these.” Emails or texts with grammar errors can be a sign of a phishing scam from a non-legitimate source, so it is best to avoid opening these.

5. Use anti-virus software and avoid clicking on unverified links

It is possible for hackers to use malicious malware to steal your identity online. To avoid this, Crouch advises Don’t click on any links if you’re not sure they are coming from a legitimate source. And most importantly, don’t download anything sent to you via email or text. It can also be a good idea to have antivirus software installed, this will scan for malware and protect you from phishing attacks.”

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