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Expat Investor : September 2008
EXPAT ISSUES Protecting who you are and what you’ve got At a time when 69% of people say they prefer shopping on the internet with a credit card because they feel it is safer, Abbey Banking has put different card fraud prevention options to the test and found that, despite the ongoing desire for security, the key thing for customers is ‘no hassle’. Despite the concern about card safety, less than one in three (32%) want their bank to give them a security device to further protect online transactions. Even less popular was the option of asking more security questions (30.5%) and instead, more internet banking users would like better monitoring of transactions by their bank (40%). Neil Wilson, Director of Financial Crime, at Abbey, confirms, “Finding customer-friendly ways to protect people and their accounts is key. Ongoing monitoring is one of the most important factors in preventing card fraud. Abbey is strong in this area and has continued to invest significantly in monitoring over the years.” Anti-fraud initiatives Abbey Banking claims to constantly monitor all its accounts for fraudulent activity, and where suspect transactions are identified, Typical victims of identity fraud If you are a forty-something male, you are more likely to become a victim of identity theft than any other age range or group. This is the illuminating fact revealed by CIFAS figures (see table) relating to victims of identity theft. Tips on avoiding identity theft There are some basic steps to take to avoid our identities being compromised. Many may seem to be obvious, but it is by dropping our guard that the fraudster ultimately will benefit. ? Always take particular care of your handbag or wallet. Don’t give thieves a chance. Be especially careful with your credit and debit cards. Try not to keep them together or have them all with you at the same time, and never let them out of your sight. Also, avoid carrying documents such as passports unless 4 EXPAT INVESTOR ? Product Range Asset finance Bank accounts Average age (male identity fraud victims) 43.27 47.81 Communications 45.15 Plastic cards Insurance Loans 45.84 Mortgages 48.16 ‘All in one’ / combined (eg mortgage, loan and bank account) products necessary and never keep in the same bag as your wallet. ? Shred all documents when you dispose of them. These can range from credit card or bank statements to letters from doctors, employers and indeed anything bearing your full name and address or signature. Receipts can also be valuable to a fraudster, so take care to shred these September 2008 46.17 Average age (female Identity fraud victims) 43.36 46.60 40.67 43.14 50.92 46.17 42.68 39.73 47.07 too. ? Examine your bank and credit card statements carefully. Keep all your receipts until you have checked each one individually against the statements. This will help you to monitor your account. ? Check your credit reference agency file regularly for unfamiliar items and take prompt action if you expatinvestor.com 43.44 spot anything strange. ? Don’t forget to keep your home secure, and keep your personal documents locked away. Increasingly, it is these documents that are being searched for by burglars rather than TVs and computers. Theft or loss of documents such as your driving licence or passport should be the team contacts the customer on their mobile to ask them to verify that they made the transaction. Abbey used to make the call manually; however the company is currently introducing new technology which will automate the phone call. If a customer does not verify the transaction, an automatic block will be put on the account. Abbey confirms its system is a version of Mastercard Secure Code and ‘Verified by Visa’. When a customer registers for Abbey Secure they get their own passcode, which will be asked for every time they make an online transaction. The passcode does not change. What’s more, Abbey says it monitors the Bank’s ATM machines to identify unusual activity. The anti-skimming devices on the ATMs won’t allow the ATM to take a cloned card. notified immediately. ? Don’t give your personal details to callers, charity collectors or ‘researchers’ in the street. Check whether they are truly who they claim to be before giving them any information. Be just as careful when taking telephone calls. Fraudsters may try to dupe you into believing they are from banks or other companies. If you give them your account and security details they could run up huge debts in your name. ? When buying online – keep your passwords secure at all times and regularly change your passwords. Make sure that you have up-to-date security software, and only use sites that provide secure payments and be sure you know who you are dealing with. ? Avoid online bank or shopping transactions when using public wi-fi zones or shared computers. ? Redirect all post when moving house or business address.
July August 2008