ID FRAUD TREBLES; Identity Theft Is out of Control

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVAN REILLY

PENSIONER Derek Bond was the latest victim, but up to 120,000 of us will be stung this year by identity fraud.

Experts reckon the number of victims will TREBLE this year. And they fear ID fraud could soon be out of control in the UK just as it is in the US.

High-profile victims in the US have included Star Wars creator George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg and actress Whoopi Goldberg.

Criminals get hold of personal details such as passport numbers, driving licences and bank details and use them to apply for credit.

But it's not just credit cards. Mobile phones, bank loans and even mortgages have been taken out by ID fraud.

Mr Bond, 72, was released last week after two weeks in a South African jail. America's FBI reckoned he was a criminal mastermind instead of a Bristol Rotarian on a wine-tasting holiday.

They now admit he was simply a victim of crooks stealing his identity to carry out multi-million frauds.

Solicitor Stephen Philippsohn, who advises the Home Office and banks on credit card crime, says: "The internet is now a very effective medium for ID fraud. You can go on to the web and for a fee get personal details, which may help you to get an identity."

June Hale of CIFAS, the UK's fraud prevention service, says there were 13,000 ID fraud cases in 2000, rising to 27,270 in 2001 and 42,029 in 2002. "Information is out there. There is no way you can put that genie back in the bottle. It is out of control in the US. …