Should Compers Worry About Identity Theft?

Posted on: December 10th, 2007 by Jason 4 Comments

From the information you put on social network sites like Facebook to the Government mislaying a few data discs which just so happen to contain 25 million people’s details, identity theft is is currently a hot news topic. As compers (and freebie hunters as well) we, day in day out, happily pass our details to many different organisations, but should we be concerned about identity theft?

Loquax’s response to the question would be – be wary! Don’t panic and don’t think that your identity is about to be stolen because you’re trying to win a holiday to Florida, but just stop and think before you send in your details and ask yourself “am I happy with the amount of details I’m providing”? For the most part, the answer to the question will always be “yes”! A lot of competitions online are run by well known brands and organisations, who should be well versed in handling your details, in accordance with Data Protection policy.

Sites want your data as in reality it’s more valuable to them than your visit to their website. With your email address, mobile phone number and home address they can market directly to you, or if you’ve agreed, they can sell your data to other organisations. Optting out of third party promotions is one way to make sure your details are not “sold on” (and it shouldn’t make any difference to your entry or chances of winning).

The time to start worrying about your data is when you visit a site who you’re perhaps not familiar with! We’ve seen in the past a freebie site offering free L’oreal products. When a user submits their details they are then told to visit the real L’oreal site to gain the freebie. So a user has simply given their details to an unknown site for nothing! The old adage of “if something looks too good to be true” is always worth remembering too!

Therefore before filling in forms, either for freebies or competitions, stop and look around the site first. Ask yourself does the site look professional? Look for terms! Look for About Us information! Does the prize fit the quality of the site? If the site is giving away a £5 DVD but wants to know your life history question why they need that amount of detail. This is not to say a site without terms, without an about us page or a ridiculously long entry page would be dodgy, but at least you it helps you decide whether if it’s a site you want to have your information.

Email competitions are also something to think about. How many times have you fired off an email, with your name and address, to enter a competition without truly knowing who’s running the competition? Our advice for email competitions is always, if the option is there, visit the website to verify the competition and check out the website running the competition.

With our competition listings we do make judgements on what we do and don’t list, but ultimately it’s down to yourselves individually to decide what competitions you enter – whether through Loquax or any other service. You can be safe online AND enter competitions, but it pays to be wary and sensible.

In short…

1. Be wary!
2. Ask yourself if you’re happy about giving a site your details
3. Look round a site before entering a competition
4. Visit email entry sites, if the option is available
5. Be sensible!

Remember that the vast majority of sites are fine and treat your data with respect and in accordance with Data Protection Law.

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  • netkitten

    I agree with all that has been said, and agree we should be wary. I am one of those that had my child benefit details lost and there is more than enough details there for a good identiy theft.

  • hary

    It’s definitely a worry…seems like every day some group or other has lost/misplaced data; newest one is of a bank’s employees details going missing while the office was being refurbished.

  • PAUL D

    I DO NOT SEE WHY COMPETITION SITES NEED YOU TO GIVE THEM YOUR DATE OF BIRTH.
    SURELY THIS IS ONE KEY ITEM OF PERSONAL DATA THAT FRAUDSTERS ARE KEEN TO GET THEIR HANDS ON. I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THAT GENUINE SITES THAT ARE SETTING COMPETITIONS WOULD REALISE THIS AND NOT REQUIRE THIS TO BE SUBMITTED OVER THE INTERNET

  • psycharol

    i received an e mail on 10 jan it said YOU ARE A WINNER .i had wo n £35000 ,plus a brand new Honda..The E mail Address was honda and some yahoo no. I didnt open the E,mail but i refered it to my local honda dealer who sent it to head office. I also sent it to loquax .If it had said just the car i might have inadvertantly opened the mail ,and who knows what then?. carol owen

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