Not in my name
Equifax reveals case of ID Fraud victim where a fraudster applied for 29 different financial services in the victim’s name
The first time "Martin"* who lives in the East Midlands realised he had been a victim of identity fraud was when a letter addressed to him dropped though his letter box. In fact, someone had tried to apply for 29 different forms of credit including credit cards, personal loans and mail order accounts in his name. As part of Scams Awareness Month in July Equifax, is highlighting the risk of falling victim to identity fraud.
Martin comments, "I thought it was strange that I had received a Laura Ashely credit card when I hadn’t even applied for one. I immediately contacted the company and spoke to a person in the fraud department who was very helpful and advised Cifas, who added my details to their victim of fraud database. In subsequent months I found out the fraud was more prolific than I had anticipated".
"If the fraud hadn’t been identified and stopped the fraudster could have racked up thousands of pounds worth of debt in my name." A potential source for the fraudster to have gained Martin’s details, could have been from Companies House, as he had previously been a company director. According to Cifas** company directors are one of the most at-risk groups for identity fraud, making up nearly 19% of identity fraud victims. This is despite the fact that they comprise less than 9% of the UK’s population.
Not only were company directors statistically more likely to be victims of fraud, but as with other victims they were also found to be at risk from multiple impersonations.17% of director-level victims have suffered impersonation fraud more than once across the three and a half year period***. This comes at a time when identity fraud is at an all-time high, having risen by over 68% since 2010 to almost 173,000 individual cases in 2016.
Lisa Hardstaff, identity fraud expert at Equifax says, "Martin’s case clearly demonstrates how fraudsters can apply for multiple credit agreements in the hope of intercepting the correspondence, with the aim of racking up debt in the victim’s name. If they are successful, the fraudster will start with low purchase amounts so that they don’t raise suspicion with the credit provider. They then go on to purchase high value items.
"Victims of ID fraud often don’t know anything is wrong until they get an unexpected bill or see money missing from their account. By that time, the fraudsters are long gone. However, a monitoring service like Equifax Identity Watch Pro will alert an individual to activity on their credit report which allows them to take immediate steps if they identify anything suspicious, in order to protect themselves from identity theft. The reality is that ID fraud is an indiscriminate crime that affects all ages in the UK irrespective of where they live or how much they earn. Everyone is vulnerable – so everyone needs to be vigilant."
Equifax Identity Watch Pro includes WebDetect, which alerts individuals if their financial details are shared on websites used by fraudsters. Subscribers also get alerts within 24 hours of significant changes to their credit report. It allows them to take swift action to reduce the potential damage of fraud. The service costs £9.95 per month.
*Name changed to protect anonymity due to ongoing fraud issues
*** Impersonation data extracted from Cifas' National Fraud Database
Equifax Inc. (Equifax) is a global information solutions company that uses trusted unique data, innovative analytics, technology and industry expertise to power organizations and individuals around the world by transforming knowledge into insights that help make more informed business and personal decisions. The company organizes, assimilates and analyzes data on more than 820 million consumers and more than 91 million businesses worldwide, and its database includes employee data contributed from more than 7,100 employers
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