Identity Crime

Have your personal details been compromised? Noticed any suspicious financial activity? Fallen prey to a scam artist? You may well be the victim of identity fraud.

With a broad set of skills and in-field experience, Lyonswood is equipped to assist in confirming your suspicions, identifying the culprit and minimising the devastating impacts of identity theft.

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Identity Theft Crime / Fraud

  • Surveillance, database searches and digital forensics to identity the perpetrators of identity crime.

  • Advice on preventing a breach of identity and how to mitigate the risks of further damage if a theft of identity has already taken place.

  • Recovery of your data security.

  • A service tailored to your circumstances.

  • Gathering evidence for civil cases, criminal cases, or simply for your peace of mind.

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud is a broad classification of criminal activity that generally involves the unauthorised use of somebody else’s personal information to commit a crime. Today, it is common for false or stolen identities to be used in criminal activity, whether online or in crimes involving the use of actual forged documents. Most often performed to gain financial advantage, identity fraud usually involves the theft of a person’s personal, private, or financial information, with the intent of using it to assume a victim’s identity. Fraudsters can sometimes use another person’s personal information to commit fraud after that information was given to them for other purposes.

Identity fraud is an extremely serious offence that can leave victims in financial ruin or at risk of a bad credit score. Once a criminal has all the necessary information, he or she can apply for things like credit cards, passports, driver’s licenses, government benefits (income support, housing benefits, etc), and other financial services in another person’s name. This can lead to the perpetrator racking up massive debts under the victim’s name and even implicating a victim in criminal activities.

How does it happen?

Identity fraud occurs when a fraudster gets access to an individual’s personal information and uses it for unlawful purposes. It is important to maintain a vigilant watch over your personal details, as there are a number of ways that this information can be surreptitiously obtained. A dedicated criminal may search through your rubbish and use discarded documents containing your personal details for nefarious purposes. If your letterbox is not secure, it can be targeted similarly. Documents taken from your house, car or office during a theft may be used down the track for ID fraud.

In the digital age, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated and can obtain sensitive personal information at the click of a button. Hackers install malicious programs onto personal devices to track keystrokes and view the digital activity of users. As such, it’s important that the operating and anti-virus programs on your devices are updated frequently. We also advise against doing any online banking on shared computers or using public wi-fi because these are vulnerable to those with hacking expertise. Vulnerabilities in your system are most often exposed by unsolicited emails that contain malicious links or attachments. If these are clicked or opened, your computer may become infected with malware or you may be taken to a phishing site where your details can then be stolen.

Phishing is a widespread problem in the digital age and involves an online imposter posing as a representative of a reputable company. This can be by text message, email or direct message on social media or through some other means. In a phishing exercise, the victim is tricked into revealing his or her sensitive personal data. Elderly people are often targeted in phishing attacks as they are typically less wary of these tactics.

With access to basic personal details (like names, dates of birth, usernames, addresses, etc), a fraudster can imitate you and gain access to email, social media and banking accounts or create new accounts under your name.

What can we do?

Experienced private investigators are able to assist you to resolve the problems associated with identity theft. An investigator can advise you how to prevent an identity breach or how to mitigate the risks of further damage if a theft of identity has already taken place. To prevent identity theft from occurring again after an initial attack or to attempt to recover money lost from an ID theft, it may be optimal to seek to identify the culprit. Police may get involved but usually it’s necessary to do some digging yourself first.

Various tools are available to a broad-based investigation firm including database searches, computer forensics, surveillance and more. Because identity theft comes in a variety of forms, it is necessary to devise an investigative strategy based around the particular circumstances of the matter. Clear communication between investigator and victim is therefore needed at the outset in order to ensure all avenues of inquiry are examined.

By conducting surveillance and/or database searches, an investigator may be able to identify a person involved in identity theft at an address associated with the culprit. A digital forensic investigation may result in an online fraudster being identified or may reveal that a victim was not responsible for activity associated with a particular account. A forensic handwriting or signature analysis may reveal evidence of a forgery. Whether the evidence is required for a civil court hearing or a criminal investigation, the proof gathered by a private investigator can be crucial.

Ultimately, it’s the decision of a client as to how to proceed. Lyonswood Investigations & Forensics has dealt with instances of identity fraud and theft for 37 years. Should you encounter a problem involving identity theft, get in touch today for a confidential discussion about how we can get you some peace of mind.