How do you go about protecting your identity when you are one of the most famous faces in the UK?
It has been reported that thieves cut a picture of Ricky Gervais from the back of a DVD box and stuck it into a fake passport. That was enough to siphon almost £200,000 from his bank account. The thieves had planned to convert the cash into gold bars using the false Gervais identity but were thwarted by a suspicious bullion dealer. He could not believe the comedian would ever buy that much gold and called the police. It would suggest that the bank in question was not using the most robust identity verification procedures available in the first place; to allow such a crudely made passport to pass their security checks!
Chelsea’s Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou, Arsenal’s Emmanuel Eboue and Kolo Toure, Tottenham’s Didier Zokora, Liverpool’s Momo Sissoko and Manchester United’s Manucho were also put at great risk of identity fraud.
An official at the African Cup of Nations decided it would be fun for the fans to know the passport numbers of every player in the tournament – so they were all put up on the official web site.
A quick Google search would allow a fraudster to obtain details such as date of birth making the passport numbers highly valuable. Luckily, someone realised the mistake and the passport details were removed from the site quickly.
Other Famous Fraud
Other recent celebrity victims of identity fraud include Lily Allen, Harry Hill, Oprah Winfrey and even Larry Ellison the CEO of Oracle. More celebrity fraud stories can be found in the original article, as published by Finance Daily.
These examples show that fraud is a threat and that the simple rules concerning protecting your identity apply to everyone, whether you are a Bafta winner or not!
For businesses, the above examples illustrate how easy it is to obtain one single measure of identity verification; such as a passport or date of birth. However a multi-layered approach to verifying identity would have prevented all of the cases above, and prove how valuable a range of identity checks can be in the fight against fraud.