The UK's financial services industry is to launch a crackdown on identity fraud, with the introduction next week of a major training programme for thousands of front-line staff.
The programme has been put together by the UK's fraud prevention service Cifas, in partnership with the Association of Payment Clearing Services and the Finance and Leasing Association.
Figures supplied by Cifas' 200 members - drawn from the retail, government and banking sectors - reveal identity fraud as the most rapidly rising type of fraud in the UK. In 2002 there were 74,000 cases of identity and impersonation fraud, says Cifas, up from 53,000 in 2001 and just 20,000 in 1999. Some 9000 crimes involved fraudsters either assuming the identity of dead people or impersonating the recently deceased.
Cifas says the training programme has been launched in an effort to improve on the current 75% detection and prevention rates of financial firms.
The manual, to be launched on 17 June at a London conference on 'Combating Identity Fraud', includes:
- Details of how to verify the identity of customers
- Examples of the most common identity documents with details of how to spot forgeries
- Consumer information for organisations to use in customer leaflets, magazines and other communications
- Best practice guides for internal use by financial services staff
The packs to be distributed for use by front-line and fraud investigation staff include posters and a pocket guide to identity documents.
In addition, Cifas is calling on the government to step up plans for the introduction of a citizen's identity card and to open up access to information on the recently deceased from the Registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages.