Identity fraud takes 292 days to detect

A new report from Experian reveals that its Victims of Fraud and Preventions Team recorded a leap of 13 per cent in identity impersonation last year and they predict that it is going to get worse in 2019.

The same study revealed that on average it takes 292 days for victims of fraud to discover that their identity has been compromised. Often it is only discovered when the debt collectors come knocking at the door demanding payment for something purchased months (sometimes years) before. It can also take in excess of 300 hours or 37.5 working days to sort out. One case that recently hit the headlines was that of Alison Ayling who received a bill through the post from Very.co.uk for £850. As a customer of the site she knew that these purchases definitely weren’t hers and must have been a mistake. She contacted the company only to be told that the matter had been passed to a debt collection agency. So she contacted the debt company. It was soon established that the transactions could have been fraudulent since much of the personal information held on the Very account differed from Alison’s real details, including date of birth and address. In order to wipe out the debt the agency demanded proof of address for Alison dating back to 2004. Alison contacted her bank, only to be told records only went back as far as 2011 and her mortgage company was just as unhelpful. Eventually she contacted her local council for electoral roll data. Despite this evidence the demands still kept coming until eventually Alison sought outside help to clear her name. Eventually after significantly more than 300 hours the matter was dropped. However, what upset Alison was that it was up to her to prove her innocence rather than for the debt collection company or Very to prove her guilt.

This is a very common occurrence but whilst Alison might not think so, she is lucky that it was her identify that had been stolen, not the identity of someone close to her that has died. Deceased identity fraud, when fraudsters assume the identify of someone that has passed away, by its nature takes significantly longer to discover, tends to take longer to sort out and has the potential to cause distress and pain to the bereaved. A number of studies show that this type of identity fraud is on the rise, as it is easy to commit, consequently as we move into 2019 we are calling for organisations that offer credit to be extra vigilant when it comes to screening applications for potential identify fraud.

For further information on how to stop deceased identity fraud please don’t hesitate to contact us.