Police warning over identity fraud

SUFFOLK police have today issued new warnings for householders to be careful about throwing away their identities in the face of increasing identity fraud.

SUFFOLK police have today issued new warnings for householders to be careful about throwing away their identities in the face of increasing identity fraud.

Residents and businesses are being urged to ensure they are protecting themselves from what is one of the fastest growing crimes across the UK.

It is feared that a third of households in the country put enough complete information into their rubbish bins to allow a fraudster to steal a person's identity and use it to commit fraud and other crimes.

The force's crime reduction officer, Ben Cook, said: “Identity fraud is a serious and growing problem which affects all of our communities.

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“From national experience, we know that the best way to safeguard our personal information is through strong preventative measures, whether you are shopping online or throwing out your bills.”

A survey conducted nationally showed that over 19 million households regularly place sensitive materials in their waste and recycling bins.

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It is thought that 13 per cent throw away documents containing complete credit or debit card numbers along with the expiry date for the card, and the owner's signature.

And a third throw away personal items including passports, driving licences, CVs or phone and utility bills.

Have you been a victim of identity fraud? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Paul Hassall, of Dashwood Close, Pinewood, Ipswich, knows more than most about the dangers of credit card fraud.

Mr Hassall, 29, a property sales advisor for Archant, first became suspicious when a pushchair was delivered to his home.

As he had not ordered it, he phoned Mamas and Papas store, who told him it had been ordered with his credit card.

He had not used his credit card for purchases for several months prior to this so called his bank, Lloyds TSB, who then launched an investigation.

Mr Hassall said: “I phoned my bank and they told me all the stuff that had been bought recently, which included the pushchair, four T-Mobile phone cards, amounting to £70, cinema tickets in Cardiff, and bus journeys. About £500 had been spent on it.

“I don't know why the pushchair was delivered to our address-maybe it automatically went to the credit card holder's address by mistake. The weird thing is my girlfriend is pregnant and we were looking at the exact same pushchair just days earlier. At first, we thought our relatives had sent it to us as a surprise.

“People should keep on checking their bank balances regularly so they don't get caught out like me.

“I know you hear of people going through your litter or finding out your details through the internet, but you never think it will happen to you.”

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