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How to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft


Millions of Britons are leaving themselves open to identity theft by carelessly discarding personal information. Luckily, protecting yourself can be really simple - read on to find out how.

One in six (16%) of us fails to destroy documents like bank statements, receipts and invoices before throwing them away, according to research by John Lewis Insurance. Nearly half (43%) say they never lock personal details away in a safe place in the home. 

The 2011 survey of 2,003 UK residents also revealed the risks people are taking when they log on to the internet. One in seven (14%) admitted to using passwords that can easily be guessed, such as ‘1234’, or using the same password across multiple accounts.

13% percent also admitted to falling for so-called ‘phishing scams’, where they were asked to click on links emailed to them and to fill in forms asking for personal details.

Top tips

The good news is that there are some very simple things you can do to help prevent yourself becoming a victim of ID theft. Read on for our top tips...

  • Don’t throw away anything with your name, address or financial details without shredding it first.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements carefully and report anything suspicious to the financial institution concerned.
  • If you’re expecting a statement and it doesn’t arrive, tell your bank or credit card company.
  • Get regular copies of your credit report from a credit reference agency.
  • Make sure your computer has up to date anti-virus software installed.
  • Make sure you use all the privacy settings available on social networking sites – but don’t put too much personal information up there.
  • Don’t ignore bills, invoices or receipts for things you haven’t bought or services you haven’t asked for – contact the company immediately.
  • When you register to vote, tick the box to say don’t want to be included in the edited electoral register – that means your details can’t be sold on.

How can John Lewis Home Insurance help?

John Lewis Home Insurance provides Identity Theft Cover. You’ll have access to our Identity Theft Helpline that will provide you with full assistance and guidance in recovering your identity if it’s been fraudulently stolen.  

We’ll pay up to £50,000 to cover costs you have to pay to defend your name and restore your credit status, or any lost wages if you have to take time off work to meet with police or legal counsel.

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Home Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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