Many people ask what is the difference between identity theft and identity fraud… here is an explanation…
Identity theft is the misuse of an identity (such as your name, date of birth, current or previous addresses), without your knowledge or consent. These details are used to obtain goods and services in your name. It’s hard to believe, but this is currently not a criminal offence in the UK.
Identity fraud is the use of a misappropriated identity in criminal activity, to obtain goods or services by deception. This usually involves the use of stolen or forged identity documents such as a passport or driving licence. This is a criminal offence in the UK. Unlike the US (where the consumer is regarded as the victim), it is the UK financial institutions that are seen as the victims of Identity Fraud and not the consumer!
Many people get confused… so hopefully this explains.
Can it happen to you?
100% yes. Identity fraud is the fastest growing crime in the world. It affects every aspect of our lives and not just online either!!!. Here are three examples of some offline identity fraud you might not be aware of:
– VEHICLE ID FRAUD – copying a vehicle licence plate and using it on a stolen car – someone uses your plate on their car and avoids paying fines, road tax etc… and of course you end up with the bill!
– CELL PHONE ACCOUNT TAGGING – this is where someone has attached themselves to your mobile phone account – which means you end up with their bills! Nasty stuff.
– CHILD IDENTITY FRAUD – normally a family member but also close friend applies for credit in a childs name – unfortunately this type of fraud goes unnoticed until the child reaches the age where they can apply for credit (country specific) – not well known here in the UK, but on the rise in the US. (Stat Alert: In the US 400,000 children every year have their identities stolen every year – FTC)
To find out about other types of identity fraud and protect yourself from this type of offline crime, please click here
What are the affects of being an identity theft or identity fraud victim?
Here are some affects to think about – please do not be scared – but all I say is this – it is better to be armed and ready!
- damage to your good name
- stress and emotional pressures
- loss of earnings and sometimes your job
- poor credit score – not able to obtain credit or a loan for example
- money may disappear from your bank account – cannot pay the utility bills or mortgage!
- unable to shop online because your computer has been hacked or has a virus on it
- no access to your bank or credit accounts for period of time – how do you live??
These are just some of the affects. There are others. Here in the UK we are yet to fully understand the extent of identity fraud on consumers. Most surveys done by Experian or CIFAS indicate it is on the rise. We at IDTP know this too from our own research.
We have found that consumers are yet to understand what identity fraud is and how it will affect them. Most people believe it is when you have your “credit card” stolen. This is so wrong. However this is the same across the globe. After 2 years we have seen in particular over the last 6 months major interest in what we are doing especially our SBS e-guide…. all we want now is for consumers to have the e-guide right next to them….. safe in the knowledge they have the very best and latest tools and services to hand. All the internet security vendors know that if they bind their products with education they have a better chance of increasing sales and therefore revenue in what is already a fragmented market place.
Should consumers have all the information at their fingertips? I’ll leave that one for you to decide.