Identity Theft Concerns at Summer Festivals

3rd July 2010  

Somerset Police were quick to release figures this week showing a drop in the crime statistics from this year’s (2010) Glastonbury Music Festival. There were just 343 crimes reported against 363 in 2009, arrests were also down at 112 compared to 138 last year. The figures look particularly good when you take into account that attendance numbers were up by some 17%.

But the full picture may not have emerged yet as one of the biggest crime problems for this year’s summer festivals is identity theft, and it can take some time for the full implications of this to come to light.

There is evidence that organised gangs are targeting festival goers, who once the festival is under way are naturally relaxed and feel they’re surrounded by like minded individuals who pose little threat to their belongings.

Neil Munroe, External Affairs Director at Financial Information House Equifax said

“The big problem is keeping cards, cash and other personal documents secure.”

“In all the buzz and excitement of a music festival it’s easy to let your guard down. A stolen wallet with all your cards in or a lost or stolen mobile phone/smart phone that may have personal details stored in, can really ruin the experience.

“We strongly advise that only the absolute essentials in credit and debit cards are taken and festival goers take extra care with other personal documents and belongings”.

The problem is that identity criminals only need 3 key pieces of information to steal your identity and start to order goods and services in your name. Your driving licence, a credit or bank card and some passwords stored in a mobile phone are more than enough for them to quickly take advantage. Passports are particularly vulnerable and should be left at home unless you’re travelling abroad.

Our festival tips for staying safe from identity fraud are:-

  • Always keep your valuables on you at festivals and don’t leave them lying around or in your tent for people to easily steal
  • Keep all your cards and cash separate so if you lose one you have a back up
  • Don’t write down your PIN number, or store it in your phone. Make it something memorable so the only place it stored is in your head
  • If your wallet/cards are stolen, check your credit report to make sure there are no suspicious transactions and cancel any cards immediately
  • If you’re away from home, make sure you have your card issuers 24 hour contact telephone number in the event of a problem

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