back to article More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

UK identity fraud has hit its highest recorded levels, according to a new report. Fraud prevention service Cifas recorded 172,919 identity frauds in 2016 more than in any other previous year. Identity fraud now represents over half (53.3 per cent) of all fraud recorded by the UK’s not-for-profit fraud data sharing organisation …

  1. Alister Silver badge

    But remember, millenials, "nothing to hide, nothing to fear", so you keep posting your personal details all over social media, and using the same password for your bank account, 'cos security is just people being paranoid.

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      "'cos security is just people being paranoid."

      I remember a self proclaimed android expert woman telling me how silly I was for not trusting google (or anyone else on the internet for that matter) and how it was just a phone and couldn't possibly hurt me.

    2. dm_dv
      Facepalm

      Where?

      More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before...

      And that Security is to be found where?

      In the ARM's (pun) of the ARPANet which was spun off from MILNet with the slow dawning of the realization that the C programming language descriptor is:

      a:) Microcode (in size)

      b:) Viral (considered harmful)

      c:) Incapable of "Garbage" collection!

      "nothing to hide, nothing to fear" - Bollock's complete and utter bollock's spun by people who do not understand that the original C language was actually a "WORM" and that it has been allowed to languish for so long that huge updates are long overdue.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYecfV3ubP8

      www.cybertelecom.org/notes/internet_history80s.htm

      1. Alister Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Where?

        @dm_dv

        Oh dear...

  2. Gordon Pryra

    The report only talks about the bad side of things....

    Come Brexit, it looks like this could be a cottage industry for the English (sans Scots)!!

    After all, outside of the (admittedly impressive) criminal empire that makes up our "finance industry" we don't have that much to offer, even our income from Scottish Shortbread could dry up in the near future.

    A good solid foundation in identity theft could support many low income towns through the hard times.

    Maybe the English will be looking to take the scammers "Crown" from the Boys in Lagos or even take on the Eastern European hackers at the own game?

    Just pointing out that there are always two sides to any story

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

      Are you suggesting straying on to Nigeria's turf?

      Or is this about Embracing and Extending their basic concept?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

      Enough bollocks about the Scots.

      Just because Andy Murray is only British when he loses, the Scots are only British when the times are good and they will only call an informal referendum when things definitely go to shit rather than before they might go to shit (in case they're wrong).

      Cmon Jocks you can have an informal referendum any time you like. Do it already. Do it weekly if you want. It won't be legally binding but what have you got to lose?

      At best that Jimmy Krankee look alike you have whining in your parliament will resign. Thats good for everyone...her only mission seems to be independence, I've never heard her talk about anything else.

      1. smudge Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

        At best that Jimmy Krankee look alike you have whining in your parliament will resign. Thats good for everyone...her only mission seems to be independence, I've never heard her talk about anything else.

        That's because she is only shown on things like the "national" news when she is talking about something that affects the UK as a whole. Independence, in other words.

        Meanwhile, on the same "national" news, the people of Scotland have to endure endless reports on things like the failing health, social care and education systems. Reports which very seldom make it clear that they are not "national", but apply only to England and Wales, or even to England only.

        Just another reason why the people of Scotland are fed up.

        1. Allonymous Coward
          Stop

          Oh for goodness' sake

          It's a tech story. Can we park the IndyRef/Brexit/whatever politicking somewhere else please?

          Someone should reformulate Godwin's law with respect to referendums (referenda? Dunno, don't care, tired of it already).

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

          Just another reason why 45% of the people of Scotland are fed up.

          Fixed to be factually correct as of the last official referendum.

        3. Toni the terrible
          Thumb Up

          Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

          Shurley some mistake, the "National News" is mostly about the SE of England if not just Greater London?

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

        It won't be legally binding...

        Nor was the Brexit one, though all the politicos lied to pretend it was.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

        Can the English have a referendum on whether we want to keep Scotland just to even things up?

        Don't get me wrong I like haggis, deep frying everything and drinking special brew down the park in the mornings.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

          I think you will find that the Scots who wish it tend to things other than Special Brew - that is a very English(Danish) tipple

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

            My bad I was thinking gold label from tennants but then again I'm a cheaper the better sort of person.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: The report only talks about the bad side of things....

              Special Brew is probably right. Since Haggis has origins in Denmark as well as Special Brew. Thats probably why its a good pairing.

              An English referendum on fucking the scots off would be complex.

              There would be those who vote to keep them because they hate them and don't want to do them a favour and those that would vote to fuck them off because they hate them.

              Personally Im only against plastic scots. The ones that have lived outside Scotland for decades that have more or less lost their accent that regularly fake their own accent to cling onto their Scottish heritage.

              You can be Scottish and not have the accent, its ok.

              Im half Manc, quarter Italian and quarter French but I don't smoke woodbines, sell onions and get out of my car to shout at traffic to cling on to my heritage. I simply acknowledge it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm a victim

    Lots of people post here as me. Its probably my fault though because I can't figure out how to set a password on the AC account.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm a victim

      Hey! How'd you get into my account?

  4. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Well, my ID was stolen. I am the rightful head of the British monarchy but some German and her Greek fella stole it from me.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      "I am the rightful head of the British monarchy" - so you are actually Richard IV?

      1. Allonymous Coward

        Nope, I'm Richard IV and so's my wife.

        1. PNGuinn
          Joke

          Nope, I'm Richard IV and so's my wife.

          Yeah, and your son's name is Bran ...

  5. Andytug

    Should not be possible to open a bank account online

    Go back to the old way, actually have to go into the bank with some proper photo ID. Stop this "cheaper because digital" stuff, it's not to improve stuff for customers, it's so they can close branches and increase profits. Any negative side effect to the customer is tough luck.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

      "Go back to the old way, actually have to go into the bank with some proper photo ID."

      What if there isn't any within a reasonable distance from you? Go back to barter?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

      That's not guaranteed, back in the day, the post office screwed up some of their mail forwarding when I changed address, allowing some ID theft folk to take a loan out in my name using letters delivered to old address. Only found out a few years later when debt collectors hassled me, handily the loan date and fact that lots of evidence of my address change (including from my bank, building society & solicitors e.g. , paperwork of sale of house and new mortgage & insurance on new address) meant I was in the clear, but (just like with more digital fraud) UK plod useless at doing anything about chasing up the fraud.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

        "That's not guaranteed, back in the day, the post office screwed up some of their mail forwarding when I changed address, allowing some ID theft folk to take a loan out in my name using letters delivered to old address. "

        The late, great Douglas Adams once had an issue very similar to that happen to him: he moved but all his mail, including bank stuff, ended up at his former address. It was this very issue that was the inspiration (and the initial plot) for his text adventure game Bureaucracy.

    3. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

      "Go back to the old way, actually have to go into the bank with some proper photo ID."

      I tried that last year, and got sent away with instructions to go home and complete a new account application online.

      <sigh>

      The bank is question is now about to close its branch in my town. I suspect not because of general cost-cutting, but just because it's generally useless

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

      I have no photo ID, what do you recommend I do? Stop this photo ID for everything crap, it proves nothing, other than you have a piece of plastic / paper that you have your photo glued onto.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

        "I have no photo ID, what do you recommend I do? Stop this photo ID for everything crap, it proves nothing, other than you have a piece of plastic / paper that you have your photo glued onto."

        Given that many places require a photo ID to perform anything significant, how do you go about your life without one?

        1. cantankerous swineherd

          Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

          you say "I haven't got any id, would you issue me with some"

          if they start wittering about driving licence or passport, politely inform them that you're neither driving nor trying to reenter the country. then stand there and await developments.

          there is no legal requirement to possess any form of identification, although some organisations issue id for their own purposes, eg railcards.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

          Define one significant thing that requires photo id. There are thousands, if not millions who have no valid form of photo id, somehow we survive.

        3. Toni the terrible
          Holmes

          Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

          Easy, no one ever asks for mine for example. I do have photoid though.

      2. Lars Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

        "what do you recommend I do". Let me do it for you. Just give me you information, I will provide the photo my self, just as a prank, if needed, I will try to do it by internet first and no need to thank me in advance. I would suggest two bank accounts too, just for safety.

    5. cantankerous swineherd

      Re: Should not be possible to open a bank account online

      the old way certainly didn't require photo id.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm confused, because when I tried to open a current account - with Natwest, with whom I have had multiple saving accounts over the past ten years - they refused to let me. Reason: they couldn't find a credit report for me. The reason for that is that I lived and worked overseas for many years and since returning to the UK have not been employed by a UK company nor have I seen fit to borrow money from anyone. I explained al this to my local branch, but they are unable to overwrite the automated controls.

    So how the fuck are people opening loan and bank accounts with stolen details when my own bank won't even let me have a debit card because of their own overly strict controls? Craziness, and clearly they are putting restrictions on the wrong areas or types of customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The stolen ID has a credit history, and that's why it was stolen in the first place. There wouldn't be any point if the credit history was blank like yours, as they wouldn't be able to do anything with it.

      Look on the bright side, you may not be able to open a bank account, but you're unlikely to be the victim of identity theft either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm confused, because when I tried to open a current account ... they refused to let me. Reason: they couldn't find a credit report for me."

      Set an accountant on the job and be prepared to deposit a chunk in the bank account he gets you. Remember that accountants get a commission for introducing customers to banks.

    3. yiorgos

      they 're eclectic?

      I guess they choose the victims well!

      ... or they don't, but just don't care for the ones that fail? you know the pets and cattle paradigm!

      At least you can rest assured you won't be the victim of ID fraud

  7. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    It's NOT "identity theft"

    This is old fashioned fraud - a criminal goes to the bank (physically or digitally) and pretends to be someone else. When the bank falls for the scam and hand out the money they blame the person who the criminal impersonated.

    This is the bank getting scammed, but they find it convenient to blame someone else - it's not their fault is it? It's someone else who has problem.

    1. Smooth Newt
      Pint

      Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

      This is old fashioned fraud - a criminal goes to the bank (physically or digitally) and pretends to be someone else. When the bank falls for the scam and hand out the money they blame the person who the criminal impersonated.

      Yes, it's their money that has been stolen, not your identity.

      You can't really steal someone's identity anyway, since a person doesn't cease to have an identity when a criminal impersonates them. They are still the same person.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

        "You can't really steal someone's identity anyway, since a person doesn't cease to have an identity when a criminal impersonates them. They are still the same person."

        Not really. Name changes and all that. Your identity can indeedy-doody be usurped, against your will, by a well-heeled miscreant, leaving you with little recourse to get it back OR establish a new one. Try telling what you just said to a victim of such identity theft, especially one with no close ties or family.

      2. Captain DaFt

        Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

        "You can't really steal someone's identity anyway,"

        If you're in India; Oh yes they can!

        You literally become 'The Walking Dead'.

    2. cantankerous swineherd
      Mushroom

      Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

      el reg needs to start biting some hands here instead of pumping out the banksters talking points.

      irresponsible lender hands money to liar, then tells lies about innocent third party, ably assisted by experian et al.

    3. Doctor_Wibble
      Mushroom

      Re: It's NOT "identity theft"

      Very definitely this!

      What surprises me most is nobody seems to have posted the Mitchell&Webb 'stolen your identity' sketch, unless I need my eyes tested...

      Yes I do, it seems to be audio having been a radiomatic broadcast and not on the actual televisual apparatus...

      M&W Your identity has been stolen

      1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

        Re: Mitchell&Webb "identity theft"

        Darn it, why do I only have a single upvote! That's classic, Thank You!

        1. Fink-Nottle

          Re: Mitchell&Webb "identity theft"

          > Darn it, why do I only have a single upvote!

          Hmmm ... would a long-time poster complaining about a lack of upvotes on elReg? Sounds fishy to me. How do we know it's you and not some imposter?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    let's not even mention companies house

    just pop on to the website and get full director details and signatures en masse.........

    1. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: let's not even mention companies house

      "just pop on to the website and get full director details and signatures en masse........."

      Used to be a problem here in NL too. But now the "Handelsregister" no longers shows signatures on-line, if you want to see those you have to go to one of their offices in person.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: let's not even mention companies house

      What on earth makes you think that a signature should ever be accepted as authentication?

      Like fingerprints, that's SECURITY DONE WRONG.

      And it's easy to get hold of most people's signature. Ask them, make them sign for a parcel, or just get them to write you a letter.

      There's no way that the system should let name + address + signature = confirmed identity.

      Anyone who thinks so is DOING SECURITY WRONG.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: let's not even mention companies house

      Passwords are completely useless when a major high street bank allows a hacker with your (not very) personal info (name,address,DOB was all they needed, possibly from Companies House) to OVERWRITE your username and password and phone number with their own details to hack into your bank account and make off with £1600 worth of goods from click and collect stores!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can someone please tell me who I am as I've had my identity stolen.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Technically, for your identity to be stolen you would have to have been permanently deprived of it.

      Therefore, if what you say is true, you are literally nobody.

      Identity "theft" is really identity "fraud". There is no permanent deprivation of your identity.

      If they used fraud to steal your money, they have deprived you of the money. They have stolen your money VIA committing identity fraud. Obtaining goods/services by deception.

      Like software "piracy", identity "theft" doesn't exist. Unless they kill you in the process. But even then the charge would be murder and fraud, not theft.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        "Therefore, if what you say is true, you are literally nobody."

        And guess what? That can really happen. If they identity thief replaces all your history with his own AND convinces the rest of the world that his is real instead of yours, down to the birth certificates and all, then how are you going to prove it was yours to begin with without getting locked into a "he said, she said" problem. And before you say close friends or family, you could be estranged and not have any real friends, plus the thief can convince them YOU'RE the thief.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Facepalm

          @Charles 9 - "If they identity thief replaces all your history with his own AND convinces the rest of the world"

          This type of crime used to be solely for the ruling classes - Kings and their offspring. Now, the power of the Internet brings everyone these... uh... benefits!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Flame

        you are literally nobody

        Oy! Hands off my identity. I've been nobody since the last millennium!

    2. Toni the terrible
      Devil

      More Brits' IDs stolen than ever before

      If your identity was stolen you are AC, obviously

  10. CharlieM

    Stop Blaming the "Victims"

    What needs to happen is the people whose Identity is used need to automatically receive compensation from the Businesses whose ID verification processes are ineffective. These companies clearly aren't suffering enough losses through this at the moment otherwise, they would have fixed their processes.

    There should be automatic compensation for every letter received and every minute someone who's identity has been "stolen" spends interacting with the company responsible for getting these issues fixed.

    I am sure that would focus them to fix their broken processes. Plus it would give the PPI firms something new to claim for!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Give me six emails from the most security conscious of individuals, I will find something to steal from them" - Cardinal Richelieu II

  12. adam 40

    Time to trash your own credit score!

    Who needs credit anyway - pay upfront with cash, that's my motto.

    If you can't pay for it, you can't afford it.

    If your credit score is bad, the bank will refuse the bogus application. Job's a good 'un!

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Time to trash your own credit score!

      "Who needs credit anyway - pay upfront with cash, that's my motto."

      Except it produces dilemmas.

      How can you make money to buy a car if the only job you can find requires you to buy a car?

      How can you make enough money to buy a home if you have to give all your money to the rent every month?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My identity was stolen

    I'm one of those people whose identity was stolen last year. The first thing I knew about it was when a letter arrived "confirming" I'd just taken out a mobile phone contract with an expensive mobile phone from a shop in London. Of course I hadn't.

    First thing to do was to report the fraud to the Police and the mobile operator in question, the next was to request details of my credit report from all three credit reference agencies to see what else the fraudsters had been up to. This is where the second nasty surprise arrived. One of the credit reference agencies said I'd already registered with them! Yes that was the fraudsters, they'd managed to persuade one of the agencies to give them my credit reference report. Of course despite being in the wrong, the agency refused to tell me what questions the fraudsters had been asked and answered. But of course before I got to that stage I had to convince the agency I wasn't the fraudster. Which took hoops which probably isn't best mentioned here.

    There were lots of extra credit reference checks splattered all over the credit reports too. Each and everyone had to be followed up by contacting the company in question, explaining it was fraud, and asking for it to be removed. You then have to contact the credit reference agencies raising a query against it too in the meantime (that's the best that can be done, as only the company that put the entry on your credit file can remove it).

    In all it took weeks to clear up because nobody cares. To add insult to injury I had to register with cifas and buy "protective registration" which puts a flag on your report which forces companies to make extra checks when people claiming to be you apply for credit (including me of course). It was only £20, but it was the principle that hurt here, why should I pay for companies lax identity/security checks?

    I would have liked to have found out where the identity fraudsters got my information, but, I never did. The most likely source was a month before I had my mobile phone stolen in Eastern Europe when on a business trip.

    Posting anonymously for hopefully obvious reasons.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Weak Controls by the banks

    ......“Identity fraud is the key to unlocking your valuables. Things like weak passwords or not updating your software are the same as leaving a window or door unlocked,”......

    * Sure, but 'Weak Controls' at the banks is also part of the problem as evident in the link below...

    * I wish banks would stop enabling web services I don't want. Why aren't accounts locked down by default?

    * For example take a bank account with no prior history of external payments, how are fraudsters able to create external payees particularly: 'International-Payees'???

    * How is that possible without some form of human contact / verification at the bank??? Its just lazy complacent cost control!

    http://www.rte.ie/news/business/2017/0314/859689-it-risks-at-irish-banks-serious-and-pervasive/

  15. AndrewDu

    "34 per cent increase in under 21s"

    What you mean all those youngsters who scoff at us old Pro's who insist on keeping our account details to ourselves?

    Colour me suprised.

  16. Cuddles Silver badge

    Damned lies and...

    "Cifas reports a growing numbers of young people are falling victim to identity theft. Last year brought in 25,000 ID theft victims under 30, and a 34 per cent increase in under 21s."

    Firstly, percentages are meaningless without some absolute numbers for comparison. Sure, under-21s rose by 34% - from 1343 to 1803. Meanwhile, the 51-60 category rose from 28366 to 29818, an increase nearly as large as the total for under-21s. The under-21s category is so tiny that the whole category, let alone the small increase in it, is barely noise in the total data - trumpeting about a big percentage increase and going on about how young people are at risk is very close to outright lies given that the group has by far the smallest risk of any age group by more than an order of magnitude.

    Secondly, that 25,000 number (actually 24,375 so it's been rounded the wrong way to make it sound more scary) includes two age brackets - the aforementioned under-21s, and 21-30. What isn't mentioned is that fraud in the 21-30 group actually dropped. Admittedly only by a small amount, but why is this advertised as "growing numbers at risk" when the opposite is actually the case?

    It really is a bizarre bit of scaremongering. A large percentage change is played up, when it's actually due to a category being tiny in absolute terms so any change looks big as a proportion, and categories are combined to make things sound bad (along with misleading rounding) when half of the categories involved actually improved.

  17. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coat

    "not-for-profit fraud"

    Charitable criminals?

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