Friday, January 11, 2008

Update: Identity theft is easier than many people think .

Further to my post on Tuesday 8th January 2008 about this issue, what do I read today ...

Identity fraudster steals £10,000 from Barclays boss
By Cahal Milmo
Published: 11 January 2008

When Marcus Agius was appointed as the £800,000-a-year chairman of Barclays Bank, he was lauded for his ability to pull off financial coups. It is unlikely that falling foul of a conman who persuaded Britain's third biggest bank to issue a credit card in his name and then stole £10,000 is the sort of spectacular deal that Mr Agius had in mind.

The bank, which last year announced losses of £1.3bn from the sub-prime mortgages crisis in America, was forced to admit yesterday that its high-profile chairman had been scammed by a fraudster who succeeded in impersonating Mr Agius to a call-centre employee to the extent that a Barclaycard was sent out for his use.

The conman, who used personal information gleaned from the internet such as Mr Agius's date of birth and his address to dupe staff into believing he was the executive, then took the card to a high street branch of Barclays and withdrew £10,000.

A spokesman for the bank said: "It was down to human error, procedures were not followed fully and we have learnt from it."

...Well, what can I say? You tell people what they want to hear and along comes a credit card. You tick all the right boxes and you get the prize. Identities can easily be cloned and expensive, compulsory identity cards will not stop this problem. Business will be defrauded and legitimate consumers will have to pay for it at the end of the day. The cost of credit will rise to meet the cost of this fraud and the banks will increase their charges to recover the losses suffered by retailers.
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