Thursday 01 March 2018
Several years ago, award-winning writer and stand-up comedian Bennett Arron was in serious debt. He owed thousands of pounds to phone companies, banks and department stores. Only it wasn’t him. Bennett had become one of the first major victims of Identity Theft in the UK. This theft resulted in Bennett becoming penniless and homeless.
Bennett Arron is now an award-winning writer, stand-up comedian, author and TV presenter.
He will be speaking at IP EXPO Manchester 2018 on the subject of Identity Theft.
We chatted to Bennett about this and found out whose identity he’d choose to be for the day.
What first made you realise your identity had been stolen?
I had applied for a mortgage. Everything was going fine until 6 weeks in when the bank contacted me to tell me they were stopping the mortgage as they had discovered all my outstanding debts. That was the first sign that something was wrong. I then applied for a Credit Report which gave me a list of ALL the companies to which I apparently owed money.
I spent the next two years trying desperately to clear my name and telling the police that I was me, and not the person pretending to be me.
What’s the strangest thing you discovered when you dug into how people steal identities?
How easy it is! Sometimes people make silly mistakes - like when I went through someone's rubbish at 1 o'clock in the morning and discovered they had thrown away their bank statement AND PIN! And also how easy it was for me to steal the Identity of the Home Secretary - just by applying for a birth certificate and then a driving licence online! Too easy.
If you ruled the world for the day what’s the one thing you would compel everyone to do to protect their identity?
Well, after insisting that everyone call me Lord Bennett King of Everything, I would ensure that everyone had a regular credit report to see if there was anything untoward happening in their name.
If you could have anyone else’s identity for the day who’s would it be and why?
Donald Trump. And I would resign.
You can find more details about his book 'Heard the one about identity theft?' here - https://www.amazon.co.uk/HEARD-ONE-ABOUT-IDENTITY-THEFT-ebook/dp/B00TCHB5AQ