20 Sep 2011

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION AN EASY TARGET FOR ID FRAUDSTERS

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION AN EASY TARGET FOR ID FRAUDSTERS

Equifax offers advice on reducing the risks of ID fraud and theft for students

London, 20th September 2011 - It’s the start of a new university year, which means students are moving into halls or shared accommodation. While their main concerns could be who does the washing up and how to split the bills, leading credit information provider, Equifax, is also warning students to think carefully about how they keep their personal data safe. Communal living can make students easy pickings for ID fraudsters.

"Student digs offer fraudsters the perfect opportunity to steal valuable personal data" explained Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director, Equifax. "From picking up post in a communal hallway to stealing a mobile phone or laptop left lying around, personal data can be quickly acquired by opportunistic fraudsters."

"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."

"Our research has also highlighted that people save PINs on their mobile or other devices. This could be another easy route for clever fraudsters to get the information they need to set up accounts in a victim’s name and rack up huge bills - the last thing any student needs."

Equifax is therefore offering students some helpful tips on how to avoid ID fraud:

EQUIFAX’S TOP TIPS FOR AVOIDING ID FRAUD IN STUDENT ACCOMODATION

  • 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
  • Keep personal documents secure - ideally leave them at home with mum and dad, rather than in a shared house
  • Don’t store PINs and passwords on mobiles and laptops, as thieves will be able to use this information to steal your identity
  • Password protect all digital devices, including phones
  • Be careful what information you make public on Facebook - a date of birth and personal email or primary school could be enough for a canny fraudster
  • Try to avoid accessing online banking and secure sites in internet cafes. But if you do need to use these services, make sure you log out of the site rather than just closing the window
  • Redirect mail if you move
  • Always check bank statements and credit card statements carefully against receipts

Equifax also recommends that students check their credit report regularly to ensure there aren’t any unauthorised transactions. Tackling the threat of identity theft and fraud, Equifax Identity Watch Pro gives an individual 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.

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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: wendy@harrisonsadler.com

About Equifax

Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates in four continents and 15 countries, is a member of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com