SIGNATURE ALERT: Mind how you sign...

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People in the East Midlands are being urged to protect their signatures after fraudsters revealed how they use them to commit identity crime.

Detectives are teaming up with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) to encourage residents to be aware of criminals turning up on their doorstep and simply asking for their signature.

A convicted fraudster who was recently interviewed by the NFIB said: “If we want to get someone’s signature it’s really easy.

“All we do is put on a fluorescent coat or vest, knock on the door and ask the person to sign for a letter or a flyer.

“They don’t need signing for but nobody ever questions why and we don’t hang around for a chat.

“Once we have the signature we can make changes on their bank accounts and authorise fraudulent money transfers.”

Detective Constable Julie Wheeldon, from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit, said: “Obtaining your signature in this way appears to be an emerging trend with fraudsters and it just shows that criminals will try anything to commit crime and empty your bank account.

“Your signature is your identity so it is vital to protect this to ensure it isn’t abused or stolen. Be vigilant – if you aren’t expecting a delivery then be suspicious.

“Always question what you are signing for and look for official identification.

“If you do sign, just print your name to boost security.

“I would also encourage residents to regularly check their bank statements and report any suspicious activity to their bank or building society.”