Personal Property

Carrying valuables

Don’t make yourself a target when carrying your valuables. Always ensure that you:

  • keep your bag close to you with the opening securely closed and with the opening turned towards you
  • are discreet – talking on your mobile, wearing headphones or carrying a laptop all show thieves you have things worth taking
  • have your house keys ready so you can get in the front door quickly – carry them on you, not in your bag, and consider an attack alarm (whether you’re male or female).
  • plan your routes to avoid areas that you don’t know well
  • spread your possessions about – carry your money, keys and credit cards in separate places and don’t carry large amounts of cash
  • make sure you’ve got insurance and your belongings are registered on a site such as immobilise (www.immobilise.com).

Data Protection

Identify theft

It is very easy to become a victim of identity theft, in other words theft of your personal information such as your name, date of birth, current and previous addresses. Criminals obtain the information they want by getting hold of personal mail, bank cards, passwords and computer login details. Victims of identity theft can experience a direct impact on their personal finances and may find it difficult to obtain credit cards and loans until the problem is sorted out.

Identity fraud

Identity fraud is the use of a stolen identity to obtain goods or services by deception. People are often unaware that this has happened until they receive bills or invoices for things they haven’t ordered, or receive letters asking for debts that aren’t theirs.

Fraudsters commonly use stolen identity details to:

  • obtain credit cards and loans
  • take out mobile phone contracts
  • take over your existing accounts
  • order goods in your name
  • obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licences in your name.

Helping to prevent identity fraud

  • Check your bank balance and statements regularly. This may be tedious but it’s the only way to ensure that you are the only person using your account
  • If you move, ensure you make your bank aware of your new address promptly to prevent your details getting into the wrong hands
  • Ensure you shred or tear up everything with your name and address on before throwing it in the bin or recycling it
  • Beware of fraudsters posing as organisations such as banks, in search of personal information, often by email: if you’re unsure of a caller’s identity or the source of an email don’t respond until you’ve checked it out
  • Report the loss of any important documents such as your passport or driving licence.

Property Marking

Property marking makes your valuables less attractive to steal, as long as the mark or a label saying it is marked is clearly visible to the thief. Marked property is more difficult to sell-on and is much more likely to be recovered following theft.    

Examples of recommended property marking techniques include:

Electronic marking

You can create a free private and secure portfolio of all your personal property at the Immobilise website.

UV pen marking 

UV pens are invisible to the naked eye and can be used to mark your address onyour valuables.  It helps to deter potential thieves if you also use stickers, usually supplied with the pen, to indicate that your property is marked. UV marks fade with time so remember to reapply. 

Photography

Take detailed photographs of your property to help prove it is rightfully yours. This can also help prosecute the criminal who stole it from you.

Postcode Stencils

These are ideal for IT equipment, bikes and mobile phones.

For more information, log on to the Secured by Design or Sold Secure websites.

Mobile phones

  • Lock the keypad using a PIN number or pattern code when you are not using your phone, so it can’t be used to make calls or access your personal data, emails and social media accounts if stolen.
  • Mark your phone, battery and accessories with your postcode using an ultraviolet marker pen so that it can be more easily returned to you if recovered.
  • Regularly back up your data, contacts and photos.
  • Every mobile phone has a unique IMEI number (International Mobile Equipment Identity). To find the IMEI number of your phone dial *#06# and record the number that appears somewhere safe.