BASINGSTOKE is at the crossroads of a global explosion of identity fraud.

That is according to Darren Innes, of Identity Theft Prevention in Basingstoke’s Top of The Town.

The company is part of C6 Intelligence Group, which supplies the world’s leading organisations and data distributors with up-to-the-minute risk intelligence on individuals, companies and geographical locations.

Identity fraud is big business where criminals use your personal information for monetary gain. Darren said this can involve opening bank accounts in your name, redirecting post to another address as well as going as far as securing a passport using your personal details.

But to combat this and help prevent people from being potential victims of crime, Identity Theft Prevention is offering a free service where visitors to its website hasmyidentitybeenstolen.|com can find out if their personal details have been compromised.

“We have access to criminal websites on the ‘dark web’ and can find out if your details are currently or have been up for sale and that your identity has been compromised before your ID is used by criminals,” explained Darren. “To do this, use our free Identity Checker, which will show if your personal identity details are for sale. If they are we’ll show you the steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of identity fraud.”

And to emphasise this is a serious problem locally he said his company’s database shows there are currently around 33,000 records for sale from the Basingstoke area.

“Of these around 562 are considered high vulnerability records as they include email addresses and their passwords or emails address and credit card numbers.

“If we can warn people early they can deal with the risk straight away by, for instance, changing their passwords.

“This is a serious global problem,” said Darren, referring to a BBC report last week that revealed a Russian group had hacked 1.2 billion records belonging to more than 500 million email addresses.