The study suggests that men are more likely to steal identity than women

The study suggests that men are about twice as likely to experience identity theft as women.

More than one in 10 (11%) of women said they had their identity stolen, and nearly a quarter (23%) of men also said so, according to the Nationwide Building Society.

Of those who said their identity had been stolen, a third (33%) said it had been used to order goods such as a mobile phone or vehicle on their behalf.

Over a quarter (27%) said it was used to access or steal from their accounts.

One in five (20%) said it was used to borrow money on their behalf, for example by taking out a credit card or personal loan.

Nearly a fifth (19%) said their data had been used by criminals in a scam to impersonate their bank, building society or public organization such as the police to extort money.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of men surveyed were concerned about being a victim of identity fraud, compared to seven in 10 (70%) of women.

Women were more likely to say they protect all their social media accounts – 63% do so compared to 50% of men.

Women were also less likely to have social media friends or followers they had never met, with 37% of women having them compared to 53% of men.

Nationwide warns that over-sharing information on social media can leave people vulnerable to scams.

Survey of over 3,000 people across the UK, with names, ages, dates of birth, email addresses, mobile numbers and job titles among the most shared items.

This information can be submitted by criminals.

Some people shared the names of their pets, which could give criminals clues about their passwords or security questions.

Some people also shared their address or zip code.

Ed Fisher, head of fraud policy at Nationwide Building Society, said: “While it’s good to see identity theft coming first in people’s minds, our research shows a worrying lack of steps people are taking to protect themselves.

“We urge everyone to be vigilant, protect their data, and follow some basic tips – don’t share your information unnecessarily, consider who is tracking your online activity, and protect your devices and accounts with both security software and strong passwords or codes that they are not the same.

“Don’t provide information to anyone who contacts you unexpectedly, or respond to emails or text messages asking for information without thoroughly verifying that it’s genuine. Also, be sure to cancel or report lost or stolen cards immediately and check your statements and credit files regularly for any issues.

“Only by taking preventive steps can we hope to prevent this type of fraud.

“The less we give criminals, the less chance they have of hitting. Our identity is valuable, and criminals sometimes only need a few personal details to start targeting you.”

If you are concerned that you have been the victim of fraud, contact your bank, building society or card provider immediately and report it to the police.

Nationwide has a dedicated freephone number for members to report if they believe they have been a victim on 0800 055 66 22.

Here are some tips from Nationwide on how to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft:

1. Never provide your personal information unnecessarily

This includes your account number, routing number, PIN, password, card reader codes and any one-time codes. When providing your account number and routing number to receive a payment, make sure you give it to someone you trust. Never share data such as your PIN or one-time code with anyone.

2. Use strong passwords for all your accounts

A strong password must be unique to each account. Try not to use the same for different accounts.

Nationwide recommends that a strong password be at least 12 characters long, contain numbers and symbols as well as letters, and contain no personal information. This means that you should not use words such as a relative’s name, home address or pet’s name.

3. Cancel or report lost or stolen cards or other identity documents

If your card, passbook or checkbook has been lost or stolen, cancel or freeze it immediately.

If your passport, driver’s license or other identification document is lost or stolen, you must report it to the Immigration Authority
organization comes right away.

Make sure items used for banking are kept out of common or communal spaces whenever possible.

4. Protect yourself and your money online

Install antivirus programs on all devices. This includes a computer, laptop, phone and tablet. And remember to check for updates regularly or set automatic updates.

5. Be careful when using social media

Check your privacy settings to ensure that only people you trust can view your account and posts.

6. Be careful when using your card in public places

Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks and make sure that no one is listening to you or that other people can see your information.

7. Check your credit report regularly

There are many credit reference agencies available. Some of them are free and others will receive regular email updates.

A credit check can help you stay safe. Unexpected credit agreements, unexpected loans or a sudden drop in credit score are telltale signs of identity fraud.

8. Keep paper documents in a safe place

If you keep your financial records on paper, keep only what is necessary – and keep it safe. Securely shred any statements and bills you don’t need.

9. Consider giving up paper

Switching to electronic statements can also help reduce the risk of sensitive data falling into the wrong hands.

10. Redirect your mail when you move home

Before moving, make a list of companies that have your address. And make sure you update them all as soon as you move. You can ask Royal Mail to forward your mail to a new address.

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