Your personal information has monetary value, so look after it in the same way you would cherish your cash or credit card. You wouldn't give your credit card to someone else, so don't give them your personal information, unless you are sure you know who is asking for it.
Personal information can be used to commit a crime: the purpose of the fraud of this kind is to steal personal data and use it in e-mails or web services. Phishing of passwords, IDs and telephone numbers is also done with the aim of financial gain.
With your personal information a hoaxer can:
- apply for a credit card in your name
- make purchases on hire purchase in your name
- empty your bank account
- use your credit card up to the credit limit
Data is also used for spamming, money laundering and other financial crime.
There are different methods for fraud and they are developing fast. For instance, profile fraud creates a new profile using a stolen identity so that those who recognise the profile are tempted to click on harmful links. Attempts are made to spread these links, for instance in the blogs of other users.The links could hide viruses, or be connected to phishing for personal information.
Put a stop to scams
- Remember that financial institutions, public authorities and other reliable operators never ask for account data, IDs or other confidential data by email.
- Do not reply to e-mails asking for personal information
- Do not give your personal information or confirm it if you are unsure of the identity of the sender of the email.
- Do not ring a phone number given in a suspicious e-mail message. Instead, ring the telephone number contained in your own statement of account or other receipt. Never give your personal information over the phone if you are unsure of the caller's identity.
- Do not click on links in suspicious e-mails.
- The link may take you to a counterfeit website, where you are required to give your personal information. The website may look like the website of a company you use, with company logos and trademarks designed to gain your confidence.
- Messages on social websites should be treated with caution. By clicking on a link you may fall victim to spyware or a virus programme, or may join a club which will charge you. For instance, in Facebook you may be shown a "friend's" points in a test and receive a challenge: Can you do better? Next to the text will be a small box inviting you to accept the challenge. After you click on this, you will be asked to state your operator and phone number so that the result can be sent to your phone. You will now have joined e.g. a chargeable ring-tone club, which is very difficult to cancel.
- Never give your IDs, passwords, telephone number or other personal information online, if you are unsure of who will receive it.
- Always treat calls for help from friends with caution and make sure that the request is genuine before you send money or give your information electronically, or in any other way.
Inform your own bank or credit card company about any case of ID-information fraud affecting your credit card. Credit card companies and banks have blocking services which you can phone to void the IDs and prevent their use. If you have lost your driving licence, passport or some other proof of identity, inform your own bank of this as well as the police.
If you suspect that your personal information has ended up in the wrong hands, report this to the administrators of the website which has been wrongly used. Change your IDs and passwords.
You can notify the Office of the Data Protection Ombudsman of the misuse of personal information or other data protection infringements.
Data Protection Ombudsman
If you believe you have become a crime victim, you can contact the local police.