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Feature: Identity Theft is Happening In Guildford – Don’t Become A Victim

Published on: 8 Apr, 2017
Updated on: 11 Apr, 2017

“Ensure that all post is pushed through your letter box completely”

By a Dragon reader, a recent victim of identity theft in Guildford, who is anxious others are made aware.

Identity theft happens all the time according to the news. And it is happening right here in Guildford.

We might be very aware of it in terms of using our computers, or using passwords and shielding PINs when we use our bank cards but then crooks can resort to the old fashioned methods and we all seem taken aback. I was.

The method they employed was to simply steal some of our post for our name and address details and use them to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards and to take out loans.

Surprisingly many banks will allow this process online and will check the applicant against the electoral roll and their credit score but overall the procedure seems quite straightforward and easy to misuse.

Sometimes banks do ask for additional information such as a phone number and date of birth, which a trawl of the internet can sometimes produce.

But once the banks have accepted the false applications, as they did in our case, all the criminals had to do was intercept our post for the bank cards and PINs. And they can be very brash doing this. We had two visits, two we know of, for this purpose, both in broad daylight, at busy times of the day, to a property clearly visible from the street, and no-one saw anything!

Some of the banks do make further checks before sending out cards and PINs using emails or phone numbers or even sending out further correspondence.

Following the theft of our post it would appear, from information we received, that five bank accounts were opened with ease, and two loans were applied for – one for £25,000. Thankfully, after further checks, these were not allowed.

We do not believe any other accounts have been opened, for store cards for example, but continue to scour our post and statements for unexplained activity. It has left us feeling uneasy and angry: one’s identity is a very personal possession.

We have been lucky that no actual ID fraud took place in our name, but many are not as fortunate and the time it takes to set banking records, and so on, straight can be considerable.

There are a number of ways in which you can protect yourselves:

  • Ensure that all post is pushed through your letter box completely and beware of stand-alone post boxes which sometimes allow post to be fished out of them.
  • If you know you are expecting some post, don’t wait too many days before chasing it up, particularly if it is a replacement bank card or similar.
  • Check your own credit score with a credit reference agency – such as Experian Ltd, Equifax Ltd and Callcredit Ltd. If you pay for a credit report with Experian for example, a list of all those enquiring about your credit risk will be listed. Sometimes a facility to get alerts when your credit score is being checked can be set up.
  • Keep a check on your statements too, in case others are using your existing accounts.

If you see anyone or anything suspicious, do report it to the police by phone on 101, but if you have a fraud issue, it is Action Fraud that needs to know. Their website is and they deal with fraud and cybercrime. They have lots of information on their website.

More information can be found on the CIFAS website CIFAS is the UK’s Fraud Prevention Service for banks etc, a not for profit membership association, which warns all its members of suspected fraudulent activity. The information is only used to prevent fraud, CIFAS is not a credit reference agency.

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Responses to Feature: Identity Theft is Happening In Guildford – Don’t Become A Victim

  1. A Guildford Postman Reply

    April 8, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    This has been happening for years. I caught two people stealing mail from mailboxes around the town centre area. I was told by the police that gangs, coming from London, target properties with mailboxes.

    The problem is, these days, modern developments have banks of mailboxes, sometimes in hundreds, which makes it easy pickings for the thieves. Letter boxes are far more secure. Developers could make new properties far harder for this fraud to happen by installing letterboxes on the doors instead.

  2. Brian Holt Reply

    May 9, 2017 at 3:31 pm

    It does not help when postmen deliver mail from banks to the wrong addresses. Living in Stoughton I have had mail for a solicitors in South Street, Farnham! Then, last Saturday, a private and confidential envelope for a house in Shepherds Hill.

    Both had addresses and post codes on envelopes so why is mail still being incorrectly delivered? They seem to pay more attention to delivering the same junk mail and pizza leaflets, day after day, than important mail.

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