Inadequate security checks and false identities are allowing criminals to take £500 smart phones from stores and leave random victims being chased up for bills. An investigation has recently shown that fraudsters are able to steal the basic personal information of people with incredible ease and then create a fake ID supposedly proving their identity.
This doesn’t allow the criminal to take money out of their bank account, but it does mean that they can sign various contracts, such as those for a mobile phone, which allows the phone to then be resold and the bill sent to an unsuspecting victim.
Peter Lambert, is an example of one of these victims and his identity was stolen and then he was chased up for a phone contract that he never actually took out. He went away on holiday, and came back to find out that nine different phone contracts had been taken out in his name, all in London. He was then faced with nine individual bills each month for very large amounts.
The recent investigation shows that it is incredibly easy for criminals to simply walk into a mobile phone store with a fake ID and walk out with a handset, for free, which can be worth several hundred pounds. Obtaining a fake ID is something that is very easy to do and in a recent investigation the Guardian found that it was easily possible to find overseas providers of both fake identities, and gas and electricity bills, which are often required to prove address.
There is also a problem on the other side of the equation as phone shops are very keen to sell contracts as it brings in money from mobile phone companies. This means that they are sometimes lax on performing the adequate security measures meaning that fraudsters have an easy ride.