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.
  • Phone scams (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