Bank Account Details and Security
Almost everyone in the United Kingdom has a bank or building society account or has access to one as partner to a bank account holder. With this in mind it is important to look at how useful these bank account details can be if they fall into the wrong hands and also how much damage an identity fraudster can do to your credit rating using these details.
Your Bank Account DetailsAs already mentioned most of us have – or have access to – a bank account. With this being the case the likelihood is that you will have received statements either through the postal system or via the Internet. These details – however you receive them – can be used by fraudsters in order to defraud you of your money and also to obtain information relating to your identity.
The most commonly known and used bank account details are:
- Sort Code
- Bank Account Number
- Roll Number (For Building Societies)
- Joint Names (If the account is administered by more than one person)
Most of these details can be found on any bank or building society statement – whether posted or electronically mailed – and can be extremely useful in building up a picture of your identity and your financial status if in the hands of an identity thief.
How Can an Identity Thief Use My Details?Your bank details and statements – as we have already mentioned – represent a potted history of your current financial status if they fall into the wrong hands. There is enough information contained on a bank statement to allow an identity fraudster to instigate proceedings that would allow them to have access to your account.
Such proceedings would be to allow for the withdraw or transfer of monies from your account to another. Likewise these details can be used for the purposes of Internet fraud which in itself is becoming big business for the identity thief.
It is – perhaps wrongly – taken as read by many institutions that if they are approached by an individual with details as to a bank or building society account – that they are that account’s administrator. This is especially true if dealing with an individual via email or via telephone.
Likewise if an identity thief manages to get hold of a statement then he – or she – can accurately give information relating to monies going in and coming out of the account; something that banks and building societies will use as a means of identification when using telephone banking.
Protecting Your Bank DetailsIf you have a debit card never carry details of the account or PIN (Personal Identification Number) in the same wallet of purse. The theft of a wallet or purse containing such information can mean the difference between having money in your account or allowing an opportunist thief to relive you of it.
If you are in a position to do so have your statements sent to you via Online Banking. This means that you can view your statements online without downloading or printing them and also allows them to stay in the hands of your bank or building society.
If you are going to avail of Online Banking services you should make sure your computer is up to date with the latest anti-virus and Spyware software and that you are using either a software-based or hardware-based firewall. Most wireless routers supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will have a hardware firewall built in but the addition of a software-based firewall can do no harm.
Regularly check the status of your account either online or via telephone banking. Most bank and building society accounts at least have telephone banking as standard. If you do use either ensure that your password is something that will be very difficult to decipher. Avoid using the names of family members, family pets or the destinations of holidays etc. If an identity thief has gone to the trouble to obtain the details of your name, address and bank details then it is reasonable to assume they will know other things about you as well such as the names of your wife, partner or children.