Identity theft is when your personal information is stolen and used to open bank accounts apply for plastic cards and loans or for government benefits and documents such as passports, and driving licences in your name.

Criminals can steal your identity in a number of ways, for example finding your credit card or bank statements in your rubbish or stealing your driving licence, cheque book or bank cards. They can use personal details such as your name, date of birth, current and previous addresses and much more to commit identity theft.

Stealing your mail is another way criminals can access your personal information to commit identity theft. One way they do this is by setting up a mail redirection for your address without you knowing.

Social media can also be used by criminals to access your personal information and build picture of your identity to commit fraud.

Becoming a victim of this type of fraud can mean you will find it difficult to obtain loans, credit cards or mortgages in future.


1. Transactions appear on your bank statement that you don’t recognise

2. You receive letters about loans, debt or plastic cards you didn’t apply for

3. You’re told you’re already claiming government benefits when you apply

4. You receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods or services you haven’t asked for

5. A mobile phone contract has been set up in your name without your knowledge

If you believe you’ve fallen for a scam, contact your bank immediately on a number you know to be correct, such as the one listed on your statement, their website or on the back of your debit or credit card.

 If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland by calling 101 or Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 164 6000.