Identity fraud is not just a mystery item purchased on your credit card in a foreign country. Public sector organisations are also at risk of identify fraud.
People using fictitious names or personal details may claim services and legitimate documents can be used to support a false identity—for example council tax bills in a false name.
The level of identity fraud is hard to measure as it’s often coupled with other crimes. So, it’s especially important that anyone dealing with original documents is mindful of this type of fraud.
Council departments are likely to have their own verification policies for authenticating original documents, but here are some simple checks that we’d recommend:
Is the font consistent? Are there any odd uses of bold or italics?
Are there fuzzy lines around any text boxes - which could suggest it has been photocopied?
Are the signatures consistent?
Is the handwriting consistent throughout?
Has it been completed in pencil?
Has the claimant filled in the most recent form?
Are figures correct (eg on wage slips)? Do salary changes reflect changes in the National Living Wage?
Does a letter from a doctor’s surgery look unfamiliar?
If it looks a little out of the ordinary, it’s always worth enquiring a little deeper!
If you come across a suspicious-looking foreign document, the European Commission’s website has a useful catalogue of international identity documents, known as PRADO (Public Register of Authentic travel and identity Documents Online): http://www.consilium.europa.eu/prado/en/prado-start-page.html
If you have any concerns relating to original documents or possible identity fraud, please contact Veritau on 01904 552935
For more information on International Fraud Awareness Week, visit www.fraudweek.com and look out for #FraudWeek on social media.