Identity theft is when your personal details are stolen and identity fraud is when those details are used to commit fraud.
Criminals commit identity theft by stealing victim’s personal information. This is often done by taking documents from victim’s rubbish or by making contact with the victim and pretending to be from a legitimate organisation. Fraudsters can use identity details to:
- Open bank accounts
- Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits
- Order goods in the victim’s name
- Take over the victim’s existing accounts
- Take out mobile phone contracts
- Obtain genuine documents such as passports and driving licenses in the victim’s name
The Home Office estimated that in 2008 alone, ID fraud cost £1.2 billion in the UK.
The Home Office has adopted a model to fight ID fraud based on four pillars:
- Secure - Making the documents and data more secure.
- Enforce - A comprehensive understanding of current and emerging threats from is needed to enable targeting of police resources towards high areas of fraud activity.
- Prevent - Reduce the ability of an individual to use a false identity for a criminal purposes through routine sharing of recovered false identity data.
- Educate - Improve awareness of identity crime and the harm it causes through education and engagement.
Holiday fraud occurs when a person pays for a holiday, flights or accommodation that doesn’t exist or hasn’t been booked. The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) estimated the loss for all holiday fraud in 2012 was £1.5 million.
The growth of the internet and an increase in the number of travel options has made it easier for fraudsters to trick consumers. A typical holiday fraud offence may start with a victim searching online for cheap deals before coming across a fraudulent or cloned website set up by an offender.
Fraudsters also advertise holiday villas or apartments that don’t exist. Most scams occur on websites where owners advertise their accommodation directly. The victims then pay money as a security deposit directly into the fraudster’s bank account.
Fuel cards are traditionally used for business vehicle fuelling to help save time and money. Fuel cards offer a discount on petrol and diesel prices at the pump.
Many employees use their business fuel card for their own advantage, such as filling up their personal vehicles.
Suspects have used hire vans which pull up close to the pump, fill up empty plastic containers and re-sell the fuel at full price or the fuel is stored in garages.
Fraudsters can also clone the magnetic strip on the rear of the card and the data can be transferred over onto a fake card.
The threat can be managed by:
- Monitoring where the fuel is purchased from
- Restrictions on the amount of fuel purchased
- Ensuring the fuel card is registered to the vehicle to prevent staff filling up their own vehicles