A broken oven can be a real nuisance, but a stolen identity can be a life ruiner.
Jade Baker got in touch last week to explain how a faulty oven filament led to her almost losing everything she had.
“There’s never a good time to have an oven break down on you, but slap bang in the middle of the week is probably the worst time. I’d spent three years living in this bungalow in North Wales with my Mother and this was just one more thing in a long list of things that had gone wrong starting with my Mum slipping a disc and ending with my identity being stolen. It’s one of those things that you just don’t think will happen to you, it’s not something that I’d ever really heard of, except when watching one of those silly CSI program but it happened to me nonetheless…”
Identity fraud is an increasing problem in the United Kingdom, all age groups are targeted and criminals do not discriminate when it comes to social class or background. In other words, it doesn’t matter how rich you are, where you come from, or what you do for a living – identity thieves will happily take what you have. Over the last few years identity fraud rates have risen dramatically, they now make up of 56% of all frauds. Awareness has been raised by a number of government supported campaigns, but these all too often focus on online fraudsters, without mentioning the threat that con artists and crooks pose in person.
“My first mistake was not going to an official supplier of Britannia cooker accessories and spares, my second was leaving my Mother to welcome a stranger into our home to steal both of our identities. I had no idea that it could be done so easily!”
After ordering her spare parts through a 3rd party site Jade was not told which delivery service would be handling the delivery of her parcel. She left her Mother for the day to go to work simply telling her that a man would be arriving at some point during the day to deliver a package – you could say that it was a stroke of bad luck that a rather industrious conman was making the rounds of her neighbourhood at the same time…
“My Mum told me how kind and generous the man had been, chatting to her on the doorstep and handing her the receipt slip for the package (which ended up being completely false – obviously), it wasn’t until she mentioned making him a cup of tea that a prick of panic set in. I knew she was lonely, but I’d never expect her to abandon all common sense and let a stranger into the house. As soon as she mentioned this I started making an inventory of all the personal files and forms of identity that a fraudster might be looking for and sure enough I saw that bank statements had been snatched from the dresser, along with passports and even a handful of bills.”
“I got in touch with the police straight away and was able to talk to the right people to protect my identity, but had I not twigged sooner we both would have been out on the street. Ironically, the oven part arrived the next day…”