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NCC reveals flaws in UK anti-ID fraud systems

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13/07/2006

Identity theft has been estimated to cost the UK economy £1.7bn and affects more than 100,000 people per year, but victims still receive very little help to clear their names, according to the National Consumer Council (NCC).

The NCC has published a blueprint for action on better victim support – including proposals for a telephone and web-based one-stop ID theft support centre. This would have a variety of purposes, including helping victims to prove their identity, order and understand their credit report. Support centre staff would also contact the relevant service providers on the victims’ behalf.

Lord Whitty, chair of the NCC, said: “Setting up a centre would cost a fraction of the billions lost by industry to ID fraud. So far, the UK government and companies have focused on raising consumer awareness of ID theft, but no-one has paid much attention to supporting its victims. In fact we were shocked by the low priority companies give to ID theft victim support and by the lack of recognition for ID theft victims in UK law.”

The main problem in these situations, according to the NCC, is that the company is considered the victim, rather than the person whose name has been stolen. Therefore, the police often refuse to give the person a crime reference number, making it more difficult for them to clear their name.

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