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Published on May 1, 2010
(1 of 5) Identity fraud gang operating in London caught on CCTV stealing post, which was used to fraudulently open bank accounts with overdrafts, credit cards and mobile phone accounts.
The gang members have been identified as Kingston University students, and are operating in the Kingston-upon-Thames borough of London. Identity fraud is a fast growing crime that is dominated by Nigerian gangs operating predominately in London, and particularly target blocks of flats. The gang were able to fraudulently open bank accounts with large overdrafts at high street banks through internet applications with just details from a bank statement. They then intercepted the mail returned by the banks with the online username and password details.
The gang gained access to this apartment block from a fellow Kingston University student who was living in the apartment block and was colluding with them by giving the gang the access codes to the front door.
According to Experian (largest UK credit agency) In 2009, it took an average of 416 days for fraud victims to realize they have been attacked. This gave fraudsters more than a year to compromise their victims accounts, build up debts in their names, destroy their credit ratings and then move on to someone else.
Protect yourself by regularly monitoring your credit reports from Experian, Equifax and Call Credit. Pay particular attention to searches on your credit report for companies that you havent approached to take out credit. Also look for credit accounts that you havent opened.
Changing the delivery of all your bank statements, utility bills, mobile phone bills, etc. to online only and not to be delivered via post is your best defense.