Epidemic levels of ID theft
IN the UK identity theft has reached epidemic levels,
a not for profit organisation that shares fraud prevention tips between
businesses and public bodies. Over the last 2 years we have been following a
number of dating websites, which have repeatedly been using images stolen from
Facebook and other online sites, including on our newspaper. These images are
then used to impersonate or make a fake identity seem real. Sadly, this is
commonplace and increasingly more and more so.
Access to personal information
online is very easy to obtain; from mother's maiden name to where you were born
along with pet names... All the types of things banks ask for ID! Other tricks
include using fake dating sites to get personal information that can lead to you
giving your mobile number or more to fraudsters. Sadly this, for those who have
their images stolen, creates major issues for them. How do friends know if that
that profile is really you? Also who has been contacted using your information
or photos? All
this is a major problem for victims on both sides of the scams.
even Robert Downey Junior has gone on record saying fans need to be aware of
scam artists impersonating him online and asking for money. Yet for businesses
who are starting up as well as those who are trying to tackle the problem, how
do you ask people for personal information which will ensure that the person
addressed is genuine, if fraudsters are able to continually undermine trust. Our
editor has experienced ID theft and the issues that result from it.
law focuses on financial identity theft, as it is the easiest to track and
identify, as those affected often receive a random bill or realise their credit
rating has slumped. This would prevent them getting a loan of their own. Sadly,
most people who have images and profiles stolen are often unaware that they had
been targeted until they experience issues with people contacting them using
other names, or they spot their image on the likes of Google.
Many victims might
think that their personal images are stolen via stealing mail, hacking
computers, but shockingly it is often just using photos and information trawled
from social media, which often is used to trick people into giving details that
expose them to fraud. Mainly down to the fact all your information is available
freely, meaning they have a open template to make a fake ID.
Some of these scams are also connected to fake news
stories, some of which sound incredibly convincing, like those that that used a
well know YouTuber's face, after the Manchester bombings. Even businesses have
been targeted, and it's not just "spoof" or "phishing"
or profiles that are a
problem... Often for businesses, "joke" profiles and
"parody" or "satire" ones can, and often do, cause trouble; we have had experience
of this, but shockingly the likes of Facebook and Twitter often do not take
action against so called:- "entertainment" profile pages.
The problem is, what is just "fun" and "irony" and
what is abuse or scam designed to course damage is very fine line.
In the UK the Faking
social media accounts could lead to criminal charges against those who create
them, for example phoney Facebook and Twitter accounts. In some cases the
offender could also face charges including harassment and copyright theft. But
considering the bigger picture when looking at evidence and examining both the
online and offline behaviour, what is worrying is that we are becoming more and
more open to becoming victims of what is now a common tactic of revenge,
bullying and also of phishing crimes.
We are looking into this issue and are
interested to know if you been affected by fake profiles or having your ID
stolen? Please contact us via:-
News24@SouthportReporter.Com and let us know.
Also if you need advice, please also contact us for more information and we will
try and point you to where you can get help in the UK. We would also like to
know your ideas on how this epidemic can be tackled. If you do not want to be
identified due to embarrassment or other issues, please let us know and we will
keep all communications confidential, unless we feel you, or someone else is at