Identity theft and organised crime
Intelligence shows false identities assist organised crime groups to:
- Open bank accounts and apply for loans or credit cards
- Move across borders freely
- Acquire vehicles
- Subscribe to telecoms services
Criminals do not discriminate between the public or private sector.
They merely target the weakest link.
How the ID fraudster works
In order to misuse an identity, criminals need as much information as possible on
their victims. The details and documents they need depend on how they plan to
use the stolen identity, but even the most mundane of personal details can be
of assistance to the criminals.
These can be acquired in the following ways:
Theft – Burglars, muggers and car thieves are as interested in acquiring personal papers and documents as they are in physical items. Handbags or briefcases can hold valuable sources of information for use in impersonal attempts.
Bin Raiding – Criminals will raid rubbish bins in search of useful documents thrown out by unwitting householders. Despite an increase in awareness of identity fraud, the general public still discard valuable documents including bank and credit card statements, utility bills etc.
Postal Intercepts – Theft of post addressed to individuals intercepted either through sorting offices where accomplices are often employed, mail bags or event from individual post boxes provides a valuable source for the criminal. Post can also be fraudulently redirected to another address.
House Moves – After moving house, mail which is not redirected is received by
the new occupant who can then assume the identity of the previous owner.
Birth Certificates – Criminals obtain certified copies of birth certificates which they then use to apply for other formal documentation such as driving licences and passports. Known as “The Day of the Jackal Fraud”, criminals will obtain the birth certificate of deceased individuals to assume their identity.
Phishing – Criminals set up authentic looking, but false, “spoof websites” designed to obtain personal details of individuals. Emails are sent to account holders requesting personal information, e.g. name and password which are then used to access the genuine persons’ accounts. The reasons criminals use include:
- a request to update security details
- change of password
- technical changes being made to the site
- downloads of anti-virus software
- update of security measures
Social Engineering – Criminals use a number of tactics to harvest information from potential victims. They will make contact in various ways including:
- telephone calls purporting to be from the victims’ bank
- contact via letter or fax requesting bank details
- bogus canvassing requesting personal details and / or request
to take part in surveys
Collusion with Internal Staff – Criminals are often planted within institutions to exploit the daily contact and opportunities to obtain sensitive information in order to defraud both the institution and its customers.