Welwyn Garden City cyber crime expert: ‘Watch out for identity fraudsters’

PUBLISHED: 14:35 22 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:37 22 March 2017

Cribbs Cyber Security business development director Bill Osborne and managing director Conor Byrne.

Cribbs Cyber Security business development director Bill Osborne and managing director Conor Byrne.

Danny Loo Photography 2017

New figures show identity fraud has fallen in Hertfordshire - but this is no time to be complacent, experts warn.

According to the fraud protection service Cifas, identity theft hit a record level nationally in 2016 , but in Hertfordshire, recorded offences fell by 31 per cent to 4,108.

However, Bill Osborne of Welwyn Garden City firm Cribb Cyber Security, based in Broadwater Road, said: “I think that is a fluke- a statistical blip.

“If it has gone down anywhere, I don’t know how.

“Credit card cloning is a form of identity theft. That is massive. One friend of mine has had that done to him about ten times. It is everywhere.

”I get daily bulletins. The volume of it is staggering.”

According to the accountancy firm KPMG, he said, various forms of online fraud cost £124million a year in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Many frauds reported to police and other organisations have been enabled by identity theft.

“This happens where fraudsters have gained enough information about you that they can use your details to commit a fraud, for example to apply for a bank account, loan, state benefit or credit card in your name, or to enter into a mobile phone contract in your name.

“Identity frauds can have a direct impact on your personal finances and can also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved.

“The first you know of it may be when you receive bills or debt collectors’ letters for things you didn’t order. Some victims have even received penalty notices for vehicles hired in their names.”

For example, crooks recently successfully applied for credit cards in the name of one Hertfordshire victim using details found by stealing his post, and ran up bills of thousands of pounds.

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