Aaaarrrggghhh ...

... "identity theft is not a police recordable crime"!

Didn't find your answer?

Nothing to do with accounting for a change - although there's a topic overlap with AML and SAR investigation/prosecution (lack thereof).

I'm neither proud nor ashamed to admit that my 'identity' has been stolen ... not on here but somewhere out in the digitally-run financial world.  Without boring anyone with the background, suffice to say that my post today brought: * details of how to access my new online Halifax account; and * my new TSB Visa debit card.  All of which was a bit of surprise as I don't have (and hadn't applied for) accounts with either - although whoever did so, used my name/address/dob/nino/etc!

I'm (naively) bemused at the purpose since the data/cards were sent to me not the fraudster - and horrified at how little the application process was policed (both applications were apparently made on-line and were approved 'instantly')!

.

BUT to get back to my point in posting here ...

As you can imagine I've spent innumerable hours today trying to speak to humans (so that accounts can be stopped/cancelled) and, after being passed from pillar to (eventually successful) post ... was told that I should contact CIFAS to get my credit record 'flagged' (against future fraudulent attempts) - which turned out to be pointless since they will only accept info via their online form, which they hope will be responded to within 4 weeks (or so)!

However their website told me I should also report it all to Action Fraud, so off I went on another long slog ... and eventually persuaded someone to take down the details over the phone.  So everything done (until possibly tomorrow's post)?

 

NO ... I then received the following from Action Fraud:

"You recently made a report which we recorded under xxxx0123456.

Home Office Counting Rules set out the circumstances under which we can record a crime and on this occasion the matter you reported to us cannot be classified as a police recorded crime.

You have indicated within your report that the misuse of your personal details .. played a part in the matter you are reporting. The use of another person’s identity, often referred to as identity theft, is not a police recordable crime. Where the details are used to obtain goods or services, we can only record a crime on behalf of the person or organisation which was defrauded as a result of the misuse of an identity.

An example of a situation in which we could record a crime would be where details were used to obtain credit, the use of which left the provider of credit with a financial loss. In these circumstances we would record a crime for the provider of the credit and look to establish if there was scope for the matter to be investigated."

... so they'll record, and maybe even investigate, if say the card provider (who was sloppy with their checking) suffers financial loss - but jo public can go hang!

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I'm beginning to wonder whether HMRC are learning their bad habits from the rest of the public sector, or vice-versa ... not that the ultimate culprits aren't to be found here in the commercial sector (no names, Capita Hartlink, no pack-drill).

Replies (17)

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By David Ex
16th Jun 2023 17:24

I think it’s pretty well established that what the powers that be call “low level” crime (and I don’t agree that identity theft is) isn’t taken at all seriously. The distress caused by identity theft and burglary and criminal damage, etc., is wilfully ignored. However, make some tasteless joke on Facebook and the forces of hell will be unleashed because someone said it hurt their feelings.

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Replying to David Ex:
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By lionofludesch
16th Jun 2023 17:40

Maybe it'd be worthwhile saying it hurt your feelings that someone stole your ID.

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Replying to lionofludesch:
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By David Ex
16th Jun 2023 17:52

lionofludesch wrote:

Maybe it'd be worthwhile saying it hurt your feelings that someone stole your ID.

Or the thief used the wrong pronouns ….

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By lionofludesch
16th Jun 2023 18:01

David Ex wrote:

Or the thief used the wrong pronouns ….

Absolutely.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
16th Jun 2023 18:56

It’s reassuring, Hugo, that the card companies at least wrote to you. Does anyone have access to your post? I’m thinking communal apartments (surely to God somebody’s put you out to pasture in McCarthy & Stone by now!); or letter-box dippers; maybe even your cleaning-lady?
But I take your point- many years ago my car was broken into on my drive, and the police refused to record it as a crime unless and until I reported it in person at my local police station. My inside-right was the acting chief of police at the time, and he informed me that was how they kept the crime figures down. Seems like nothing’s changed. For what it’s worth, I read pre-lockdown that local police around Bournemouth would no longer record or attend shoplifting offences of less than £200 (so if you’re thinking of getting away with a pronoun, be careful it’s worth £199.99 or less).

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
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By Hugo Fair
16th Jun 2023 19:32

That ("the card companies at least wrote to you") is what puzzles me - almost as much as the rest of it annoys me.

I've ignored all attempts to cajole me out of my lair, which I've entirely rebuilt and then extended twice in 50 years ... it's large / occupied solely by me / never had occupants from outside the family / post through the front-door (with no internal box so as to prevent fishing) - so I can't conceive of miscreant gaining access to retrieve anything.
I'm told by those with perceived (by me) as lower scruples that, because the crime is so effortless, it can be 'worthwhile' for just a single transaction ... such as walking out of a store clutching the latest over-priced Apple device (for which a card isn't necessary, just a credit agreement after they've checked that the bank account exists)!

If true, it's a bit like junkies stoving in your car windows (with a repair cost of several £hundred) just to steal something for which they hope to get £20 or so.

I understand (through gritted teeth) that the Police were never going to do anything 'active' about my report.
But they've got the time/money/resources to build websites (telling you to inform them) + systems/people to handle attempts to report things - basically everything all the way to the 'terminus' of the email they sent me ... at which point they go 'oops, didn't really mean it, we can't be bothered to tick the box that says recorded')!

And your 'local police station' ... quite a few years ago I take it?
They've closed more of those in west London than Libraries or Bank branches ... or indeed HMRC local offices in which I could huddle, on a cold Jan day, back in the '70s!

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
17th Jun 2023 11:44

Uhhu, so we’ve narrowed it down. Our office postman has as annoying habit of leaving post hanging out of the letter-box; does yours have a similar modus operandi? Alternatively, does your postie himself carry the latest iPhone or sport a Rolex watch?

Otherwise it has to be someone with access to your home (or, at least, your personal post - sorting office staff included). My auditor training says someone close and trusted. Often is, because they know full well that you’ll let them off the hook should you happen to catch them.

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By bernard michael
17th Jun 2023 09:54

Under their rules it will be reportable if someone takes cash from your account as you will then have suffered loss or have I not understood them. Let's hope it doesn't come to that

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Replying to bernard michael:
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By Hugo Fair
17th Jun 2023 11:28

Nope, you have fully understood them.

But (without hopefully tempting fate) this kind of 'identity theft' is not about taking cash from my account ... it's about opening new accounts/cards (with institutions that I don't even use) by pretending to be me (and so tarnishing my 'profile').

The practical problem for me is keeping on top of each subsequent 'new account' (i.e. finding them & getting them closed before the financial body, who in my opinion are culpable due to their greed for new customers overriding proper due diligence, tries to lay-off their losses onto the innocent party - namely me)!

What boggles my mind ... in addition to the morality-vacuum that the fraudsters represent and the lack of concern evinced by the defrauded institutions (to whom this appears to be just a 'cost of doing business'), is the attitude of the Police (via their misleadingly named Action Fraud branch)!
Lack of resources to investigate is (sadly) understandable - but, having taken down all the details, to refuse to tick the box that makes it a reported crime ...

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By DJKL
19th Jun 2023 10:11

Why not ask them to send round to you the local community policeman who can then patronise you about not letting pretend tradesmen into your house .

(Actually we cannot complain, about 18 years ago someone broke into our office and about two years later the police advised they had nicked him elsewhere and he had fessed up to about 30 others, ourselves included, so you see if the police are patient and do nothing eventually they may scoop your miscreant)

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By Hugo Fair
19th Jun 2023 12:06

I know what you mean about the patronising tone (human and written) with which our supposed guardians have responded ... but there has been NO theft of *physical* data (and I'm 99.9% certain that I've not been scammed as I ignore all unsolicited emails, messages, etc and do next to no business online that requires my details)!

Touch wood ... this is nothing to do with the real me (they don't appear to be after my actual bank accounts etc), merely using me as a 'flag of convenience' behind which to hide when setting up fraudulent accounts with financial institutions that I don't deal with in the first place.

Judging by the mail so far (this mornings has brought several more items) the TSB are the most gullible ... they've already provided 'me' with a Debit Card and, today, have confirmed a new 'Spend & Save Account', have 'Welcomed me to digital banking' and confirmed the 'details of the Arranged Overdraft'!
And all this (according to the admission of their person to whom I spoke) after the bare minimum of Due Diligence "because we don't want to put off people opening new accounts"!

For the avoidance of doubt ... I've not had any physical documentation stolen or lost and the only site to which I've recently supplied more info than usual (like passport no) was DVLA - which was a valid site and indeed produced my new Dr Lic a few days later.
So either it (the source of my details) remains a mystery or someone at DVLA is selling stuff round at the back door?

Anyway, my point was (and is) the surprising discovery that the Police's own Fraud team don't regard the purloining & misuse of my identity as a crime in which I'm involved (as perpetrator, victim or whatever) - so 'move along please nothing to see hear' UNLESS or until my attempts to prevent financial loss fail!

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AS
By AS
19th Jun 2023 09:46

This is how they massage the crime statistics.

Someone crashed into my car and gave me fake details. Luckily I had taken photos of the van and driver that crashed into me. When I tried to report it, the police refused to do so saying it is not a crime. When I pushed them to confirm that providing fake contact and insurance details following a crash is not a crime, they admitted that it is a crime but only reportable by DVLA!

A freelance bookkeeper with access to a client's bank account stole about £300k from the client. When the client tried to report it, no police officer was willing to take down the details. A few months later, they came back to my client looking for info as this bookkeeper had stolen a much larger amount from another client.

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By Hugo Fair
19th Jun 2023 12:21

The logic (of financial institutions as well as of Police) beggars belief.

One of the letters I've received from the Halifax says:

"Thank you for setting up Voice ID our security service designed to make it quicker, easier and safe for you to contact us.
We have sent you a text to confirm your Voice ID registration.
We'll keep your Voice ID on record for your accounts with Halifax or Bank of Scotland plc, as well as other brands within Lloyds Banking Group."

Anyone else spot the rather obvious flaw here?

On the basis of minimal initial checking, someone else's voice is now associated with my identity across a plethora of incompetent financial institutions ... and is deemed sufficient proof of being 'me' that it enables them to perform all sorts of transactions across that group of companies!

[Oh and their 'security' for this facility is that they say they've sent a text message - presumably to a mobile owned by the perpetrator (since they don't know mine and anyway I've received no such messages)].

In my software design days this was known as 'baking in your mistakes' and was a serious disciplinary offence.

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By lionofludesch
19th Jun 2023 12:33

Sounds like a subject for Crimewatch.

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By Peter Anderson
19th Jun 2023 12:44

Mitchell & Webb had a great sketch about identity theft, the point being that its not so much identity that has been stolen as the bank's money, but the bank tries to push the blame onto us. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CS9ptA3Ya9E

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By Hugo Fair
19th Jun 2023 19:39

Thank you ... I needed a laugh to drown out the screams of incredulity that keep on leaving my mouth.

And a little (if not much) consolation to know 'twas ever thus!

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