The following is an example of how easy it is to steal your identity and commit identity fraud. Remember it’s not identity fraud until a fraudster actually uses your stolen data. All you need to appropriate your good name is your full name, address, date of birth, partners name, directorships of companies etc. This and more is all public information. (UK readers only)
Here is a simple scenario of why you should open your junk mail:
- You arrive home and decide to open your junk mail.
- You notice junk mail from a bank – a bank loan (normally monthly payments for a fixed period) has been taken out in your good name.
- The loan indicates the purchase is for an Apple computer – you might receive an email confirmation from Apple (the fraudster might already have your Apple ID).
How did the fraudster(s) steal your personal information to obtain credit in your good name? Well, it actually depends on the bank. By this I mean no one banks process for authorising credit is the same.
- Identity data is often taken from a mobile phone contract – remember each financial institution does different credit and identity checks.
- Product interception – i.e. high value item such as an Mac Book for example – someone might be waiting at your home address.
- Bank nor merchant will tell you who opened the loan a/c. This is because the data is protected under the Data Protection 1998.
- Bank accounts are nearly (note this word) always verified with Credit Reference Agencies (CRA) with mobile phone accounts a major target for criminals
- In most instances this type of fraud is committed with a bank that you do not bank with – you should always look for direct debits on your bank statements.
How can you prove you didn’t take out the loan?
- You will need to contact a CRA – Experian, Equifax and Callcredit. I suggest you call all three to purchase three credit reports. This will provide a complete picture of your credit profile.
- You should also contact each CRA’s fraud teams. They will notice failed attempts to setup false accounts – red flag – this means it can be proved that the above account was not set up by you!
- Calling Action Fraud will not be that helpful to you (my personal opinion) – also it asks for additional data – why? intrusive – don’t use it. If you do want to report your fraud then here is the URL http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/
- CIFAS Protective Registration – places a warning flag against your name and personal details. There is a yearly fee (£20) for this service, which requires you to provide various identity documents. Note: Applying for any credit will take longer than normal once you use this service. Click > Protective Registration
- Bank account – apply for a daily limit on what you can withdrawal. This will also stop your account from being wiped out.
- ATM withdrawals – insist on not being able to use an ATM one minute before (£300) and one minute after (£300) midnight – otherwise you will be £600 worse off! This is simple coding for the banks. 😉
- Junk mail – lastly, shred all junk mail after opening them – the junk mail you receive contains valuable personal sensitive information about you and your family that is useful to fraudsters – and some junk mail may well expose a fraud against your good name.
CIFAS Protective Registration has been around for some years now. I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about it and how many in the media who write about fraud prevention, don’t know (or reference it) about PR. You know about it now.
Safe surfing folks!