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Preventing identity theft

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Criminals commit identity theft by stealing your personal information. This is often done by making contact with you and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation or taking documents from your rubbish.

Identity theft can result in fraud affecting your personal financial circumstances. If your identity is stolen, you may have difficulty when applying for loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is sorted out.

Follow our tips to protect your personal and financial details and prevent identity theft.

Debit and credit cards

  • If your bank cards are lost or stolen, cancel them immediately. Keep a note of the emergency numbers you should call
  • When giving your card details or personal information over the phone, internet or in a shop, make sure other people cannot hear or see your personal information


  • Keep your personal documents in a safe place, preferably in a lockable drawer or cabinet at home. Consider storing valuable financial documents such as share certificates with your bank
  • Always report all lost or stolen documents – such as passports, driving licences, plastic cards, cheque books – to the relevant organisation
  • Don't throw away entire bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post in your name. Destroy unwanted documents, preferably by using a shredder. Be aware that your post is valuable information in the wrong hands
  • If you fail to receive a bank statement, card statement, utility bill or any other financial information contact the supplier as soon as possible. Have post immediately redirected to your new address if you move house

Passwords and PINs 

  • Never give personal or bank account details to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly. Be suspicious even if they claim to be from your bank or the police – neither would ask for your details or PIN like this
  • Don't use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites. Using different passwords increases security and makes it less likely that someone could access any other accounts
  • When using a cash machine or making a card payment, make sure no one is hovering close enough to see you enter your PIN

Protecting the identity of deceased family members

Criminals sometimes use the identities of deceased persons to commit fraud, which can be very distressing for those close to the deceased.

The following websites offer deceased person mail preference services and provide further information on this issue:

To speak to our crime prevention team about protecting your identity email crimeprevention@northants.pnn.police.uk

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