Channel 5’s Cold Call series lifts the lid on the impact of identity fraud

Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service reports that in 2018 there were 190,000 cases of identity fraud reported last year, which is a significant rise on the year before.

Only yesterday, one of our team almost fell victim to a phishing scam when she received a call on her mobile allegedly from HMRC telling her that her name had been linked with tax fraud and that to rectify it she need to press 1 now. Luckily she put down the phone, but a quick Google search revealed that some people have lost thousands of pounds after falling for this scam by paying to have their name cleared of all charges. Not to mention the premium rate phone line they connected to by pressing 1. It is not hard to see how someone could have their life ruined by identity fraudsters – which is the topic of Channel 5’s new series, Cold Call, starring Coronation Street’s Sally Lindsay.

Lindsay’s character, June, losses the proceeds of her house sale to a scam over the phone. After a meeting an old friend at a support group who also had his money stolen in a similar way, the two team up to find out who took advantage of them, and seek revenge.

It is good news that identity fraud is hitting mainstream media and that people can see how easy it is to fall victim to fraudsters – from receiving a text message seemingly from your bank asking for your login details because of a technical glitch or a call from your internet provider saying they need to take your payment details again because the server has corrupted your file. However, identity theft is not only a problem for all of us, but also for our deceased friends and relatives. Increasingly people that have died are being targeted by fraudsters, who are assuming their identity (or part of it) in order to secure credit – such as car finance, mortgages, items from catalogues, new phones, credit cards etc. The reason they do this is because it goes unnoticed for far longer than stealing the identity of a living person for the same purpose.

It is a sad fact that today when a close friend or relative passes away you must ensure that you help to protect their identity. You can do this by ensuring that as many of their suppliers (banks, loyalty card issuers, social media accounts etc.) are informed and their accounts frozen and deleted. You can also sign them up to The Deceased Preference Service (https://www.deceasedpreferenceservice.co.uk/) which will also ensure that they do not receive any mail from organisations, something that can be incredibly distressing for those left behind.

For more information on deceased identity fraud and how to protect a loved one please don’t hesitate to contact us, and to catch up on Cold Call, go to www.my5.tv