27 Oct 2011

STUDENTS NEED TO BE AWARE OF FRAUDSTERS WARNS EQUIFAX

STUDENTS NEED TO BE AWARE OF FRAUDSTERS WARNS EQUIFAX

Equifax urges students to be more protective over their personal data and more cautious when using online sites

www.equifax.co.uk

London - 27th October 2011 - Research* out today reveals students are not taking enough measures to protect themselves from identity fraud. According to the research by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over three quarters (76%) of students have not checked their credit rating in the last year, with two thirds (66%) admitting they have never had it checked.

Responding to this research, leading ID fraud expert Equifax, is urging students to regularly check their credit report as it will alert them to any unusual activity and if a fraudster is using their personal details.

“As well as checking their credit report, there are a number of actions students can take to help limit the chances of them becoming victims of fraud,” advises Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director for Equifax.

“Student accommodation offers fraudsters the perfect opportunity to steal valuable personal information, often by picking up post in communal hallways, therefore re-directing your post every time you move accommodation is vital. Having post sent to a family address and getting financial data sent recorded delivery will also reduce personal details getting into the wrong hands. We also recommend students ensure their mobile and laptop are password protected and are not left lying around.”

“The Metropolitan Police claims that it takes just three pieces of personal information to commit ID fraud, but many people don’t realise how important it is to keep their data safe,” continues Munroe. “Staying safe online is also a must for students and graduates and they should remain vigilant and restrict the amount of personal data they put online, including that on recruitment websites. Posting CV’s online can increase the risk of falling victim to ID fraud. Do not put your address, full date of birth or any data that can be used by others online.”

To help students stay protected, Equifax provides the following top 10 tips:

  1. Check all websites that you visit, including recruitment websites, are legitimate. Do background checks on them. Look out for a registered address and a landline phone number rather than a mobile number
  2. Check that websites on which you upload personal details have security locks to reduce the risk of them being hacked into
  3. Don’t give out all your personal information on your CV or when online - your date of birth, address, personal email address could be enough for a canny fraudster - you can give these details to recruitment companies/future employers at a later date
  4. Do not succumb to ‘phishing’ emails asking you to provide personal details and never give personal information out over your mobile or online
  5. Banks never ask for you to divulge personal details. Ring your bank if you receive any such requests and try to avoid accessing online banking and secure sites in internet cafes - beware of who is around you and can see your personal details - make sure you fully log out of websites and not just close the window down
  6. Make sure you have virus protection on your computer, regular updates on it, and a Firewall.
  7. Don’t store PINs and passwords on mobiles and laptops
  8. If you have a communal hallway, get post containing personal and financial information sent recorded or delivered to your parents’ address and make sure you pick up your post every day
  9. Keep personal documents secure - ideally leave them at home with mum and dad, rather than in a shared house
  10. Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts

Tackling the threat of identity theft and fraud, Equifax Identity Watch Pro gives consumers unlimited, easy online access to their latest credit file, with automatic alerts within 24 hours of key changes to their credit report. It costs £7.50 per month. Or for just £2.99 per month, Equifax Identity Watch Lite makes monitoring a credit report easy by automatically alerting the individual within seven days of key changes.

ENDS

*ICO Survey 26/10/11 http://www.ico.gov.uk/news/latest_news/2011/students-concerned-that-information-online-might-affect-their-careers-26102011.aspx

For further press information please contact: Louise Fowler, Clare Watson or Wendy Harrison at HSL on 020 8977 9132 / Fax: 020 8977 5200 or Email: louise@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax (www.equifax.com)

Equifax empowers businesses and consumers with information they can trust. A global leader in information solutions, we leverage one of the largest sources of consumer and commercial data, along with advanced analytics and proprietary technology, to create customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

With a strong heritage of innovation and leadership, Equifax continuously delivers innovative solutions with the highest integrity and reliability. Businesses - large and small - rely on us for consumer and business credit intelligence, portfolio management, fraud detection, decisioning technology, marketing tools, and much more. We empower individual consumers to manage their personal credit information, protect their identity, and maximize their financial well-being.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Equifax Inc. operates in the U.S. and 14 other countries throughout North America, Latin America and Europe. Equifax is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.