Channel warned of rising ID theft

Channel warned of rising ID theft

As fraud figures reach their highest in 13 years, experts urge channel players to be aware of growing identity scams

Onlookers have warned the channel to be more vigilant against identity theft, as the latest figures from KPMG indicate overall fraud in the UK is on the rise.

According to the analyst’s Forensic Fraud Barometer, £1bn of fraud went to court last year ­ the highest figure since 1995.

Fraud cases going to court fell from 277 to 197 in 2006, however, this figure still remains higher than any other prior to 2005.

Although the number of commercial businesses that suffered from fraud fell from £81m in 2006 to £24m last year, insiders claim the channel is increasingly being stung by identity scams.

Eddie Pacey, director of credit at distributor Bell Micro, said: “In the channel there is not really a problem with credit or debit card fraud, it’s more the identity theft that is the problem.
“People are setting up customer accounts with resellers, ordering goods, receiving them and then disappearing without paying.”

Mike Lawrence, managing director of reseller BentPenny, said he had recently been targeted in an attack.
“A guy said he was abroad a lot and wanted to text the £4,000 hard drive order across to us. He eventually sent a fax as a purchase order. After checking it on Companies House, I found that the company had previously dissolved and was not trading anymore,” he said.

“If a company [we do not know] places an order with BentPenny it is looked up at Companies House and credit agencies also can help in discovering whether a company is legitimate or not.”

However when Lawrence took the evidence to the police, they said if the crime had not been committed yet, nothing could be done. “What is the point of resellers taking protection against fraud if the police will not help ­ now at the slightest suspicion of fraud I have to put the phone down,” he said.

Pacey said it was disappointing that there was no proper training for the channel in this area.
He explained that resellers should be aware of personal email addresses that are disguised as business addresses.

Resellers should also be wary of global telephone numbers because they could be from anywhere and should always check the history of a business’s account, Pacey added.
For example, if a company purchased a large amount of security software previously, it is unlikely, as a legitimate business, to then order laptops or hard drives.

“Resellers need to become more wary and organised in their processes,” warned Pacey.
“Most orders are placed electronically or over the phone and are not checked twice.”