August 8th, 2006 at 13:59 UTC by Ross Anderson
The National Consumer Council has published a report on “identity fraud” which is rather regrettable.
Identity fraud is not fraud, from the consumer’s viewpoint. If someone pretends to be me, borrows 10K from the Derbyshire Building Society and vanishes, it’s the building society that’s the victim, not me. If Experian then says I’m a loan defaulter when I’m not, that’s libel. Suing for libel may be expensive, but the Information Commissioner has announced his willingness to issue enforcement notices against the credit agencies in such circumstances. The NCC should have advertised this fact and encouraged people to go to him.
“Identity fraud” is an objectionable concept, an attempt by the banks to dump some liability. The Home Office egg them on because they think that rebadging credit-card fraud as “identity fraud” will help sell identity cards. But it’s a bad show when consumer organisations collude with an attempt to make consumers the victims of bankers’ and credit reference agencies’ negligence.