Identity theft is rising in the UK - is enough being done to stop it?
A major card company is now starting to offer a free service aimed at helping reduce the number of people suffering misery as a result of falling victim to a fraudster.
It means that customers will be warned if anyone else is taking out loans in their name.
But will it work, and will others companies follow this approach?
If you have been a victim of credit card fraud, tell us about your experience - did you find the police and your card supplier helpful?
What do you think of the suggested means of fraud prevention?
What else do you think the financial services industry and others could do to combat ID theft?
We asked for your comments - a selection of which are below - the debate is now closed.
I recently lost my wallet which contained not only my bank debit card but also my driving licence. Only then did I realise how foolish I had been in carrying these two items in conjunction, or indeed the foolishness of carrying my driving licence on my person at all. Between them, the two items give my name, address, date of birth and bank account details, everything in other words that would enable the finder to steal my identity. Yet no one warns the public about the danger of carrying one's driving licence on one's person. I think they should be warned.
The credit card company's idea is excellent and a real bonus for their customers. What would be even better would be for Callcredit, Equifax and Experian to have to notify us every time they receive a request for a credit reference. After all, it is our personal data.
Chris Grey, Guildford
I have a Capital one card and thought I would take up this offer. After filling in lengthy details on the internet I was instructed to ring an 0870 number to finalise. This turned out to be Equifax. The advisor had not heard of the scheme but kept on persisting he put me through to a very faint line which seemed to be the USA telling me to hold. After some time I decided even if I got through I would not be able to hear, so reluctantly I gave up. Such is the difference between the spiel from the company representative on the programme and reality.
(Editor's update: Since this first appeared the writer has been in touch again to add: "Since this posting, and it being referred on with my permission by Money Box, Equifax has been in touch and put matters right. They say that they were having telephone line problems when I contacted them and also assure me that all staff now know of this particular offer.")
I have not exactly been a victim of identity fraud, but have been a victim of a serial debtor with the same name. A bank linked him to me, chasing a bad debt four years ago. Unknown to me, the other person's debts have all appeared on my credit rating list, with various credit companies. Despite the bank admitting the error in 2004 it has taken them eight months to investigate this year, to finally wash their hands of it. A year later I am still trying to get the bad scores off my credit reference. No one seems to have any clout over what the bank does - a law unto themselves. I was trying to remortgage a year ago and discovered the problem when I could not get the mortgage - just when interest rates started rising. I am on a financial knife-edge just about staying liquid and still cannot do anything about it.
My suggestion is that lenders should bear complete liability for all losses due to ID fraud, as it their poor checks that lead them to give fraudulent loans. If they had more rigorous checks in place, such as passwords, or the requirement to submit identification documents, then these problems would significantly reduce.
Yesterday I noticed a £1.50 transaction on my debit card that I did not recognise. I did an internet search and found the recipient's name associated with various instances of fraud, which start with small amounts before building up to vast sums. So I called my bank (Lloyds), who really did not seem that interested. I was initially put through to the fraud department, but the lady I then spoke to told me I had been put through to the wrong department, and that I should be speaking to the Lloyds "disputes" helpline, which was not open until the following morning. She did not even suggest I cancel my card - I had to request that myself, which I found pretty appalling. I asked them if they could tell me where the fraudulent transaction came from and they told me they could not do that, and that the only way I could find that out was to report it to the police. In fact they gave me incorrect information - the new law change says it is their job to investigate/report, not mine. Presumably they are hoping I will not bother to take it any further because of the small amount involved. Whereas of course the real issue is not the £1.50, but knowing where and by whom I was defrauded. I am annoyed by their complacency, and by the fact that they can so easily shirk their responsibilities under the new law. Who is checking up on the banks in this respect?
Thanks to the vigilance of an online store, I have been alerted to the probability that I am the subject of identity fraud. However, I have to say that all efforts I am making to try to notify people are met by frustration. For a start, the fraud departments only seem to be open Monday to Friday, often only nine to five, and they seem in disarray, as I have had to give the same information on more than one occasion. Nor are any of them free, so it is costing me a great deal in telephone calls. My general impression is that they just take it in their stride and after all we are all paying for it aren't we? The store in question actually provided me with the name and address of the fraudster, which I passed on, but I somehow doubt that it will be passed to the police or acted upon.
Jacqui Spencer, Plymouth
If you fall victim to an ID fraudster, who is responsible to picks up tab? Is it the individual who has suffered the ID fraud, or the credit card company for allowing the funds out of your account without your permission? I was a victim of ID fraud with my Liverpool and Victoria card. Within a week Liverpool and Victoria contacted me to inform me that the card use did not fit my profile. With my help they stopped my card and credited my account with the amount removed from my account. As a result of this, Liverpool and Victoria saved on the amount that they had to pay out. Is this free service not a free service, but a system that saves the card company money?
I have a very simple solution to ID theft. You give your bank a password or phrase. That will identify them to you when they call you up or if you go online to their website. No longer will any fraudsters be able to con you online or over the telephone. It's not exactly expensive for the banks to do this. It's just too simple for words.
Jonathan Harris, Southport
The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.