Identity Fraud

Identity fraud occurs when personal information about an individual is used by someone else without their permission to open bank accounts and get credit cards, loans, state benefits and documents such as passports and driving licenses in the individual's name. Information can also be used to 'take over' existing savings accounts to fraudulently withdraw funds.

What is identity fraud?

The types of personal information used for identity fraud include name, address history, date of birth and national insurance number. Personal information can be compromised in a number of ways, often by criminals taking documents from rubbish bins or by making contact with individuals and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation.

What can I do to avoid becoming a victim?

Your personal information is extremely valuable and you should take as much care to protect it as we do. The industry advise that you:

  • Destroy (shred, if possible) documents, including envelopes and junk mail, before you discard them
  • Keep important documents such as your passport or driving licence and/or financial policy documents safe
  • If you move house ensure your mail is redirected. Inform all of your financial providers and other organisations (such as the DVLA) of your change of address immediately
  • If your passport or driving licence has been lost or stolen contact the issuing organisation immediately
  • If you stop receiving mail contact Royal Mail for an explanation
  • Review your financial statements for unauthorised activity
  • Be suspicious if you are unexpectedly contacted by telephone, email, post or fax asking you for personal information like a password or policy number
  • If you are a company director, consider using a company AND private signature
  • Ensure your financial provider has your current contact details
  • Regularly obtain a copy of your personal credit file
  • If your plastic cards are lost or stolen, cancel them immediately
  • Beware of 'phishing scams' - do not access email links from product providers and do not provide login information for online accounts
  • Do not use the same password for more than one account and never use banking passwords for any other websites
  • Keep your passwords safe and never record or store them in your purse or wallet.

What are the signs of identity fraud?

  • There are transactions missing on your bank statement, for example, direct debits to your investment. Fraudsters have been known to change direct debits to investments then close that investment and steal the assets
  • There are transactions missing on your annual statement. A fraudster may have cashed part of your investment
  • You stop receiving routine performance information concerning your investment, for example, your annual statement. A fraudster may have changed your address
  • You are unexpectedly refused credit or a personal loan.
  • If you suspect fraud then you should phone us on 0117 928 3941 and 0117 928 3539.

What to expect from financial services providers

  • It would be unusual if your investment provider asked you to ignore correspondence due to a company error
  • It would be unusual if your investment provider asked you to complete a questionnaire either by email or in writing about information already held, for example, name, address, policy number or signature - even if the communication appears authentic
  • You should not receive communication confirming actions you have not authorised, for example, change of address, change of bank details or withdrawal payment.
  • If you receive any of the above types of request, you should check with the provider using their main helpdesk number rather than any direct number offered.

Friends Life - how we do business

  • Other than for some transactions currently being processed, we will not telephone you and ask for confirmation of personal details
  • We will not send questionnaires/forms asking for personal information or for details such as your signature, bank account or policy details, without explaining why we need the information.
  • If you receive any type of request like this you should phone us on 0117 928 3941 and 0117 928 3539.

Where can I get more help?

If you think you are the victim of identity fraud contact your investment provider as soon as possible. Consider contacting CIFAS - the UK's Fraud Prevention Service - to apply for protective registration.

You can also visit the following websites:

Friends Life is not responsible for the content of external sites.