Identity theft is the UK’s fastest growing crime – yet conviction rates are shockingly low. Now one company is setting private investigators on the trail of criminals who cost our economy £1.7 billion a year.
Fraudlock, Britain’s leading identity protection service, is hiring detectives to pursue the ‘invisible’ perpetrators and give their victims closure.
White collar crime is notoriously difficult to bring to prosecution, involving criminal networks that span different parts of the country and can reach overseas. The simplicity of ID theft – often as easy as filling out an online application – and its profitability have contributed to its incredible rise.
Charlie Scott, Fraudlock founder, says: “The UK’s attitude to ID thieves is often the equivalent of finding a burglar halfway out of your window with your telly, making them put it back and then saying: ‘On your way.’ This is something people discover to their great shock when they become a victim. Banks seem to have little interest in thoroughly following up on fraudulent transactions. And if the victim of a crime is in one part of the country and the perpetrator in another, it’s very time-consuming for police to unravel. It tends to get batted back and forth with no clear responsibility from one force.
“We promise our clients that when there’s enough of a lead to go on, we won’t stop when they have their money back - we’ll fund a personal investigator to try to find the person or people responsible. Until you’ve had your identity stolen and spent hours sorting the mess out, fending off intimidating debt collection agencies and unable to get a mortgage or a loan, you can’t quite appreciate how personal it feels. It’s the final blow when you’re told the culprit’s probably never going to be brought to justice.”
Any pertinent information uncovered in a Fraudlock-funded investigation will be passed to the police.
Charlie adds: “It’s very likely that anyone committing identity fraud is going to be a repeat offender, and the money they’ve made will be funding all kinds of other criminal activity. It’s vital we start fighting back and we’re pleased to play our part.”
FraudLock offers comprehensive, proactive protection from fraud for £6.99 a month. While banks monitor unusual transactions and reimburse account holders if their money is stolen in this way, there’s no monitoring service or similar protection for credit card and loan fraud, which can run into the tens of thousands. Often, victims only discover what’s happened when the debt recovery process is many months down the line – and the effects can be severe.
Methods of obtaining confidential personal data include mailbox theft and re-direction, phishing, spyware, skimming, corporate data breaches, invasion of social networking sites and refuse diving.
*Please note: Charlie Scott is available to media outlets to discuss and comment on a variety of issues relating to ID theft.
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