what’s my name?

Clash officianados will recognise the title of today’s blog entry It is a slight departure from my normal subject matter but it is something that is angering me a little.

Did you know that it is national identity fraud prevention week this week? You should, it has been all over the press this morning. It seems that people have been ‘stupid’ enough to throw away things with their name and address on them (presumably in a bin outside their home). Can you imagine it? How daft can you get, I mean you are asking for someone to come along and rifle through your bin to get the information and then masquerade as you to get credit at a local shop/bank and leave you with a hefty bill.

Hang on a minute. Some years ago the banks and shops decided that it would be good business to make it very easy to give people money that they then paid back with interest. There was no need to go and see your bank manager who could look at your banking history and decide whether you were a good risk and likely to pay the money back. You just ring an 0800 number and someone somewhere (likely as not India nowadays) would check you are who you are by asking your date of birth and what your mum used to be called or where you went to school and they would give you thousands of pounds worth of credit. Simple as that. Easy for you to get into debt, easy for the bank to make more money on the interest and not having to pay the rent on their high st premises to house their staff who could conceivably know who you are anyway. Oh and easy for some low-life scum-bag to rip you off.

Ah but if that does happen then it’s your fault because you didn’t shred your gas bill when you threw it away.

I don’t agree. Once again the innocent victim is made to feel that they have brought this upon themselves. They had no say in their high st bank services being moved to the other side of the world to save the bank money (apparently this in itself has opened up a can of worms fraud wise with some of the people who work at the call centres now making money by passing details on to criminal gangs). They had no say in how easy it bacame to get instant credit (very lucrative business for the banks). They had no say in the upbringing of the person who went on to become a thief who would eventually nick a load of money off them by posing as them.

But you only have yourself to blame, apparently – work that out.