A Question of Money
Q. I see that details of 130 million credit and debit cards have been stolen in the United States. I am scared that my bank and card accounts will be defrauded. How can I protect myself?
A. There is nothing you can do to prevent your details being stolen from the database of a company that you transact with. You should check your bank account frequently so that you learn of any fraud quickly.
There are other steps you should take. Buy a shredder and shred all documents containing financial information and passwords. Pick your PIN numbers with care – don’t use obvious numbers, such as your or your family’s birth dates, phone numbers and so on. Try to never let your credit or debit card out of sight.
Notify financial institutions when you move home. Replacement cards sent to old addresses can be used fraudulently by incoming residents. Close credit card accounts when you cease using the cards. It is easy to lose track of unused cards, with the risk that you may not notice one being lost or stolen.
Assume that any email asking for personal or bank account information is from a fraudster. Delete the email. Ensure your computer protection software is up-to-date. Some computer viruses can copy information held on your PC and email it to fraudsters without your knowledge.
Further advice can be found on the government website, www.identitytheft.org.uk.