Identity theft can be a distressing crime before its long-lasting effects are even considered. The mere thought that someone could be using your details to take money out of your account, apply for a passport or even commit crimes can be extremely concerning. However, cards can be cancelled, passports can be stopped and normality can be restored. Or can it?
Recent research by a well known online insurance provider found there can be far more serious consequences of being the victim of such a crime - blacklisting. The study discovered 46 per cent of adults in the country have encountered problems with gaining credit - in many cases due to circumstances they believe to be out of their control. As many as 500,000 people could have been blacklisted as a result of fraud. Worryingly, of those people who experienced problems, 27 per cent claimed it was down to mistaken identity - or being wrongly linked to the account of someone else.
Taking the research a stage further, it was also found that four in ten of those affected by mistaken identity blacklisting were refused products such as credit cards, while six per cent were denied a mortgage. A total of eight per cent received a further financial kick in the teeth - having to pay for legal fees to get to the bottom of the problem and rectify it.
Prevention can be better than cure. So where does the blame lie? Online banking was listed by the finance firm as one of the main reasons for the breaches of security - in particular phishing scams. These types of crimes use fake versions of websites, where users input their account data thinking they are logging in. They are, in fact, giving their details to crooks that then use them for their criminal means. One of the ways customers can be duped into this is when they receive an email from what they believe to be their bank.
Very often your bank will inform you if there has been unusual activity on your account. Most people who have been the victim of ID crime find out this way as banks are, on the whole, very vigilant. However, if you are worried you can have a look at your credit report which can tell you if there are any problems.
If you would like to know more about ID Crime why not ask AnswerBank Law.