Monday, October 16, 2006

Identity Fraud.

I was reading this article on Identity Fraud. Not much in it really it just mentions the crime and how to start to recover from it but fails to mention how to actually stop it or avoid it. Which is not surprising really.

The issue I have with the whole thing is that you may do nothing wrong but through ineptitude by someone else your details are made public. How many systems now do you have to supply your name, address, dob, mothers maiden name and inside leg measurement to join? Using them anyone can change your bank accounts and credit cards and redirect cards and cheque books or arrange credit without your knowledge.

Their solution to this. You need to check your credit rating every year and take out credit insurance. At your cost of course. Problem solved then. I feel a lot better now.

If despite the precautions you do get hit there is the damage to your credit rating, the trauma of chasing and fixing the debt and the possibility you can never recover your status or may even have a further financial loss yourself. At an extreme you could go to prison.

It is clear that the basic issue is actually beyond our control. It's fairly easy to gather peoples ID details now and they never change. Once they are out in the market place people collect them for various legitimate reasons and if you want a service you have the option of supplying the details or not getting the service. It's got worse lately because of government requirements that you identify yourself for everything, up to and including, the air we breathe for our CO2 points. Sorry, next years legislation.

So we, individually can't stop it, we can help, and the basics have been explained ad nauseam but there are some people that you just can't help and no matter what you say they still click on links or agree to install rogue SW. We could look at alternative ways to stop these spammers and play catch up all the time or we could just let Darwin take over and let the stupid lose all their money. After all it's these stupid people clicking on the spam that make it lucrative for the spammers. A different rant.

All we are expected to do is spend more of our hard earned cash in checking if it is happening and, if it has, fixing it. What sort of cure is that? No wonder this sort of crime is spiraling out of control. I think it's now at £2Bn each according the the ID card study. (I may have over egged that)

There is only one group that can stop and control this and that is the lenders. I propose that if someone confirms there has been fraud the lenders etc. have to restore that persons credit details and any monies lost. The banks then have to chase the issue and identify a bad guy. Of course, like rape, people will cry wolf but unlike rape, burglary or muggings this involves money so our *cough* justice system is geared up to prosecute to the max. Although to be fair I think the lenders take a reasonable stance on this at the moment. They could do more though. For example they should stop changes of address and then new cards by making sure changes of address are followed up with a letter to the original address or something. No new transactions until it has been confirmed. Very few people move house so quickly they can't verify before they go and need a new card or ID straight away after. This activity needs a closer check with one eye on fraudulent activity.

After all who is the group with the problem here? Not me. I've done no wrong. It's the lenders who are being taken in by crooks not me. I have no input to their procedures nor am I able to stop my ID being used. So why should it effect me in the slightest?

As and when data is shared willy nilly by our government I bet fraud of this type goes up. Then the lenders will start to dig their heels in and we will start to get some horror stories. The ID card idea to combat fraud is laughable if it wasn't so real. All your ID in one place and yet, of course, it will be perfectly safe. Everyone will have a scanner and everyone will have everyone else's ID. It's just up to those with the balls to do something with it. That will be the criminals then.

In the meantime what exactly does the Data Protection Act do for us nowadays?


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