Fraudsters use a range of techniques and scams to get hold of your personal and financial details, but what do they do once they have these details? They can do a lot, but these are the most common things:
- Identity theft where fraudsters pretend to be you in order to purchase goods, obtain official documents (like passports or driving licenses) and start bank accounts, credit cards, loans, mobile phone contracts and benefit claims in your name.
- Card not present fraud – the most common type of fraud in the UK – where fraudsters use your card details to buy things over the internet, by phone, fax or post i.e. using payment mechanisms where they don’t need to hand over a physical card.
- Lost or stolen card fraud where the fraudsters use your card to buy goods before you report the card missing.
- Counterfeit card fraud, or skimming, can involve a fake card, or a valid card that’s been altered. Most cases involve skimming, when the data on your card’s magnetic strip is electronically copied on to another card without your knowledge. Skimming commonly occurs at retail outlets – particularly bars, restaurants and petrol stations – and at cash machines that have been illegally fitted with a skimming device. The stolen data is then used to create counterfeit cards.
- Mail non-receipt fraud where fraudsters steal your new credit or debit card before you receive it by intercepting your post, which can be easy done if you have a communal letterbox in a block of flats or a student hall of residence.
- Cheque fraud is where the fraudsters use a fake, stolen or altered cheque to get cash or pay for services, or write a cheque that won’t clear because there isn’t enough money in their account.