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Rail fare evasion fraudster gave my name and address


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For a number of years a girl has been evading rail fares and giving my name and address also my daughter’s name and address and my husband’s name and address changing his name from Eric to Erica.

 

We have contacted the police before who said there Was nothing they could do. This has happened about eight times with different rail companies each time it involves making a number of calls sometimes having to reason with debt collection agency.  

 

When letters started arriving again with my surname wrongly spelt I returned them with not known at this address. However I then received a letter from the Bailiff with my correct spelling of the name and now also correct date of birth (previously they had the wrong date of birth) and i now know that this has gone to a court and I was found guilty even though it was not me who made the train journey.

 

I have had to apply to the court for the case to be reopened, and I can prove that at the time I was at the opposite end of the country. The date of birth given by the offender was 25 years younger than mine so she’s obviously a younger girl. However I am worried that this will affect my DBS.

 

I work as a carer on minimum wage and cannot afford to lose my job. Apart from which the stress and anxiety this causes every time is immense. I often have to make phone calls using higher than normal cost  0300 numbers to try to resolve this.  

 

Surely the train company Arriva north should have some responsibility for confirming the identity of a person evading a rail fare. It seems that you can just give any name taken from the electoral roll without having to show ID. Would I have a case against arriva for putting me in this situation?

 

It’s also confounds me that when the matter goes to court they then check on a database for the correct spelling of my name and the correct date of birth, and so the first thing that was sent to me with my correct details was the fine from the court. Previous to that there were letters in effect addressed to a different person with a wrong spelling of my surname.

 

I know it is illegal to open letters belonging to another person. Although I suppose I could reasonably expect it might of been for me because the name was out by one letter.

 

I certainly don’t want to pay the £250 fine. This is been going on for some five years.  My daughter has a whole file of letters.  Sometimes train companies have responded by adding a password so that when the person gets stopped they have to give a secret word.

 

But the offender is doing this all around the country and there are many different rail companies involved. However this is the first time I believe it has gone to court

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Hi SS and welcome to CAG

 

I've added spacing to your huge block of text so folk can read it.

 

Please use spacing paragraphs in future posts, thanks.

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1st.

it is not illegal for you, as the home owner, to open letters addressed to 'others' not resident at your address.

 

2nd

because you did or did not employ the above, ultimately, this has led to a court judgement being handed down.

the bailiff company have employed, quite rightly,  the methods that are legally available to them to trace the defendant.

 

rightly or wrongly they have traced you.

 

you need to write to the bailiff company concerned briefly explaining the above stating you are not the said person.

you also need to write to the judgement court the same.

you also need to write to the relevant rail toc 

 

never use the phone.

 

dx

 

 

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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In addition to dealing with the individual problems that this person is creating for you, you obviously need to deal with it holistically because there is a problem of identity fraud which may well continue and will certainly affect you and your family throughout your lives.

Nobody should underestimate the seriousness of this kind of thing.

Although people will commonly apply the label of "identity theft", what you are actually dealing with here is "identity fraud" and it is well understood in academic circles.

The police were quite wrong to say that there was nothing they could do. I'm afraid that this reflects under-resourcing coupled with poor staff development and a poor attitude.

There are offences being committed here and the girl herself is committing fraud contrary to sections 1(2a), & 2 of the Fraud Act 2006  https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/35/contents

 

Of course the police will find it very difficult to do anything and given their resources, I suppose they have other priorities. However, you could be certain that if your family was related to the head of the local police force, they would be dealing with it PDQ.

You say that this has been going on for a number of years – but you don't say how long. Maybe you had better give us a detailed account of what has happened. Please set out in a bullet pointed chronology so that we don't have too much narrative but a good structured idea of what has happened. This should include a list of the problems which have occurred and how they have been dealt with and also complaints which you have attempted to make.

You definitely need to start taking this very seriously. How old is your daughter?

In terms of opening mail, you should open every letter that comes to you and if you find that it is associated with this fraud, then you should photocopy it/scan it into a computer and start building up a file. I hope you have kept some of the correspondence and other documents which you might have received. Please let us know what you have.

You are definitely going to have to start accumulating a robust file of evidence and I suggest that the first thing you do is you start sending SARs out to all of the organisations which have been involved and see if you can tease out of them any personal data that they might have which is apparently linked to you.
Either they will provide you with a statutory disclosure – or, of course, it will be amusing if they say that they are more proof of your identity and that they won't let you have the disclosure because they are not satisfied that the data they have relates to you.

I don't think you're in a position to make any serious complaint until you have put together a convincing file of evidence which shows that there is systematic identity fraud. We will help you to start to do this and help you to structure the file that you will put together and then we can begin to explore avenues to make a complaint.

It also occurs to me that they could be a basis here for making a complaint under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 although this would be an unusual application of the act – but we can have a look when you put together your file.



 

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I think that you could probably take some advice from what we have written about organising your court bundle <<<<<<<<

 

In particular the system of indexing your documents so that one begins with the cover sheet in which it is clear what all of the contents of the file are.

Also maybe a bullet pointed summary of everything that has happened over the years with references back to the index sheet and also to the evidential documents contained inside it. Those evidential documents should be reference back to the index and also back to the structured summary.

Put up the bullet pointed chronology here and we will have a look – but also that may well form the basis of your structured summary.

The more methodical your document file is, the more accessible it will be and the more of an impact it will be when we decide what to do with it.

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Any update???

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Sorry I’ve just been a bit upset about it.       It started with my daughter (aged 27) four years ago.  We rang the train company and tried to sort it over the phone.  I know now that was wrong.  My daughter has had at least 6 separate letters relating to different incidents of fare evasion.  One of the incidents was going to court.  My other daughter has had about 8 or more separate incidents. She has a file which I can get this week.  My ex partner has now started to get some (Erica instead of Eric ).  There ha e been some addressed using our surname but with a forename not known.    The one relating to me had gone to court and I have had to ask them to open the case again.  I was advised not to do a statutory declaration as although I didn’t open the letter addressed with a misspelt surname I did suspect what it was and so couldn’t say I didn’t know about it.  At least one other has gone to a court.   So many we have out back in the post as unknown at This address.    There are too many to fight each one altogether for my family they must be over 20, I’m sorry this isn’t very well space I only have the use of the phone I don’t have a computer

 

 

Sorry I’ve just been a bit upset about it.      
It started with my daughter (aged 27) four years ago.  We rang the train company and tried to sort it over the phone.  I know now that was wrong.

 My daughter has had at least 6 separate letters relating to different incidents of fare evasion.  
One of the incidents was going to court.  

My other daughter has had about 8 or more separate incidents. She has a file which I can get this week.  

My ex partner has now started to get some (Erica instead of Eric ).  
There ha e been some addressed using our surname but with a forename not known.    
The one relating to me had gone to court and I have had to ask them to open the case again.  
I was advised not to do a statutory declaration as although I didn’t open the letter addressed with a misspelt surname I did suspect what it was and so couldn’t say I didn’t know about it.  

At least one other has gone to a court.  

So many we have out back in the post as unknown at This address.    

There are too many to fight each one altogether for my family they must be over 20, I’m sorry this isn’t very well space I only have the use of the phone

 

I don’t have a computer

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I'm sorry that you have been upset about it. I think you are very justified feel that way.

Before I start answering, can I please point out that this is the second time that you've posted a solid block of text. It's very difficult for people to read and to give you the enthusiastic support that you deserve.

In your first post, – which was very long – one of the site team restructured it so that it was legible. We don't really have time to do this kind of thing and so please would you make sure that in future your posts are properly spaced and punctuated and that will encourage people to view your story and to give you the advice that you need.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Also, now that I have restructured your post I see that you have recognised that your posts are not properly spaced because you don't have a computer. You can still use the paragraph return with a phone and it will make it much easier.

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You obviously have a very serious situation here. Is there any chance that this problem might be being caused by somebody that you know?

In future you should open all letters and copy them and then return them to the sender but make sure you have a copy. This is very important.

I understand that the three of you are being targeted. I am saying "targeted" because it is too much of a coincidence that you are all the subject of the same kind of identity theft/identity fraud committed by different people.
This suggests very strongly to me that there is one person who is doing this and the fact that this person is doing this to all three of you also suggests very strongly that it is somebody who is known to you.

I would find it difficult to imagine that there could be any other explanation.

Have you got a list of the companies that have become involved because of this problem?

Please could you post up a list here

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Who advised you not to do a statutory declaration – on the basis that you probably knew what was going on because you suspected the contents of an unopened letter?

 

Also, you have a daughter, now aged 27. Do you have any other children?
What I am asking really is whether this is the whole family which has been targeted or are there others who have not?

 

 

Have you and your family checked your credit files? I think you should do

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Also, I should explain to you that we move very quickly on this kind of thing. We are going to take a very assertive approach and we need you to respond very quickly to our questions in our posts. Apart from anything else it's been going on far too long and you have been upset – probably, in part, because you feel a certain helplessness.

We will help you to take control and we will help you to set the timescale for events – but this means that you have got to follow the thread very closely and respond very quickly.

Responding on telephone is fine. Lots of people do – but you will have present your posts in a clear and intelligible way.

Also, we may need to see documents and these should be scanned. Do you have a scanner?

 

I assume you have a printer??

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Both daughters identity has been used many times. (Aged 23 and 27 and my ex partner and my name too.

 
Re the statutory declaration it was the chap we spoke to at the single justice number which we got supplied from the debt collection agency 

 

in talking to him it was around not perjuring by saying I was not aware of a court date when knew from previous letters that this was another train fare issue. 
 

I don’t think it is anyone we know as all the offences are taking place in the north of England and we live in the south.  
 

at one time there was a description from one of the train companies of a girl in her 20s. Mixed race and dark hair.   I am in my 50s and the DOB she gave was for much younger. 


So many train Company have been involved I can post more when I see my daughters file.  I am a freaks I out all mine back in the post.   The recent one was Arriva North 

 

I realise now that we should not have ignored as much as we have but I did contact the action fraud squad in April 2019 but after a general “we are sorry to hear ... we will look into”. I never heard back abs hoped it had gone

 

 

 

I am at work 7days a week as a carer and don’t have much time to check my phone. But I will try.  But unless they catch this person it will just go on and on ?

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Well I'm afraid that by talking to an organisation recommended by a DCA, is probably not the best idea.

If you feel that you can trust us, then I suggest that you start liaising with us only and that you check back with us in respect of any ideas you might have about any kind of communication with any other organisation or person on this.

I think that we may be your best chance of sorting this out although don't expect anything quick. But I think that we can help you take a robust approach and a structured approach.

You are now telling us that in fact you have two daughters and both of them have experienced this problem.

I think this confirms my view that you are being targeted and the most likely thing is that it is being done by somebody you know – or at least somebody you used to know four or five years ago.

 

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I understand that you may not have much time to spare – but somebody will need to engage with this and to take on the work of getting this all prepared. There is likely to be quite a lot of work. Are your daughters competent with computers and do they have the necessary computer/scanner/printer to help? Would they be prepared to register with this forum under separate user identities and get involved in this discussion?

I'm afraid that contacting action fraud is useless – unless you have a body of evidence and that is what we will help you put together.

So far you have identified one train company – Arriva North. Please can you tell us about that. Post up the story of the problem with Arriva North in a separate post

 

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having sourced relevant information from a serving BTP officer i happen to know and was recently able contact, mentioning this situation.. ...they have viewed this thread but for obvious reasons cannot directly respond here.

 

.. the situation you and your family are in is a serious crime of multiple levels, and must be reported to BTP.

 

the focus of which is someone must possess reasonable fake documentation to successfully be able to carryout such a long, wide ranging, multi region FRAUD of this extent, that is a serious crime.

 

look through all the paper work you all have to date.

make a list of all the family members that have suffered and if at all possible match some incident ref numbers alongside each region they were committed in.

 

pop up on to this website:

General enquiries (btp.police.uk)

 

using either the inline form or the email address there.

 

get this ongoing crime reported.

there is no harm to copy and past this thread link into the email or the form so they can read it too.

i stress however, you must at least include a few incident numbers, p'haps the current court one, and the TOC region it happened in .

 

i'm sure a investigations officer will understand the gravity of this situation and make contact.

 

dx

 

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please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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You've already had a suggestion from my site team colleague @dx100uk but I think that any complaint to BTP or anyone else will be most effective if you have put together a comprehensive file that tells the story in a structured and methodical way.

This is why we need to start off with a list of all the rail companies that have been involved and then we need to start trying to piece together a story for each of them. You may not have all the correspondence – but we can start finding out what they have on you by sending them subject access requests. These take 30 days to produce disclosures and so we need to get a move on.

Also, we obviously would like to know the contents of your daughters file which may give us additional information.

By the way, a subject access request is a disclosure of personal data so I'm afraid that each one of you is going to have to send your separate request to each one of the companies involved in order to obtain your own personal disclosures. As already indicated, the whole thing is going to take some time but I think this is the way to move you forward.

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One of the things that we will need to discover through a statutory subject access request is how they verified the identity of this mystery person.

Presumably that person couldn't actually give any ID so does that mean that the inspectors simply took her word for it?

It will be useful to know the answers to these questions because all of these companies have duties to process your personal data accurately. If they failed to do that then they could be liable to you for the distress caused as well as any other damage.
I'm just trying to envisage a scenario where a ticket inspector stops a young woman who then says that she's been travelling without a ticket. The inspector asks her her name and address and she gives the false name and address. The inspector then asks her to verify this by identification. The woman then says that she is not carrying anything with her.
What happens at that point? How does it work? Does the inspector then have to take your word for it and warn her that she will be contacted with a possible sanction?

If that's as far as it goes, then it seems a bit ridiculous to me that you stop somebody for travelling without a ticket – evident dishonesty. Then they give the controller their name and address which can't be verified and so the controller has to accept that and on that basis a procedure is started against the named person on the basis that the contact details which were given at the time must be true – even though that person has already demonstrated their dishonesty by travelling without a ticket.

Or, are we going to find – if there is a statutory disclosure, that this person is travelling around with some documentation which identifies her as you, your husband or one of your two daughters? Which of course would be very much more serious.

This is why we want a list of the rail companies – as much information as possible so that we can start forcing them to disclose information about how this all occurred.

I would also be interested in sending an SAR to action fraud to see what they have done with your allegation which you made some time ago and about which you never heard anything further.

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I believe the RPO would use the electoral roll to confirm ID, BF, from what people on this forum have said.

 

Here's a quote from the Transport for Wales, I don't suppose England is much different.

 

In the event of a passenger being found to have demonstrated ‘intent’ to avoid the fares due, TfW reserve the right as a last resort to prosecute to recover fares due and deter against further offences. A Revenue Protection Officer will request a name and address and validate this using the electoral role via our Revenue Protection Support team. Providing a false name and address in itself is a serious offence and is likely to be deemed as a deliberate attempt to avoid payment of fares by the courts.

 

https://tfwrail.wales/sites/tfwrail.wales/files/2019-03/Revenue Protection Policy March 2019.pdf

 

HB

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Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Well if that's all it is then it's ridiculous. You ask somebody their name – they give you a false name but which is the name of somebody else. The authority then checks the electoral role to see if somebody of that name is included on the register – and of course, yes they are.

This does nothing to connect the person who's been stopped with the name which they have given and with the individual who is actually that named person and whose identity is being stolen.

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This is exactly what has happened we believe.  All our names are on the electoral role.   The fraudster knows to memorise an address and post code and the names of 4 people who live there.  She has given the name Forster instead of foster.  And always an incorrect DOB.  But fraud people said there is no requirement for people in uk to carry ID and therefore this can happen

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On 02/12/2020 at 23:14, Slimspider said:

I know it is illegal to open letters belonging to another person. Although I suppose I could reasonably expect it might of been for me because the name was out by one letter.

On that specific point, just to say it isn't automatically illegal to open mail addresed to someone else once Royal Mail have delivered it to your house. Only if you do it without reasonable excuse  and in order to cause 'detriment' to somone. I'd say in the circumstances it is OK for you to open the letters. In any case just because there was a one-letter difference in the spelling of your name doesn' mean it wasn't addressed to you.

 

The law on this was discussed on a previous thread. It says:

 

"A person commits an offence if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him."

 

So if you open a letter that's been delivered to your house in other circumstances it isn't illegal.

 

[Postal Services Act 2000, section 84]

 

EDIT - posted before reading whole thread - I see the point has already been made by other posters.

 

1 hour ago, Slimspider said:

This is exactly what has happened we believe.  All our names are on the electoral role.   The fraudster knows to memorise an address and post code and the names of 4 people who live there.  She has given the name xxxxx instead of yyyyyy.  And always an incorrect DOB.  

 

If the fraudster is getting the information from the electoral roll then it would be an incorrect DOB as the electoral roll doesn't include your DOB. DOB isn't something you supply when you register for the ER so the fraudster would have no idea of your real DOB.

 

I agree with comments about revenue inspectors not checking ID but it's hard to see what the alternative is. It would be impractical to arrest everyone then take them to a police station to check their fingerpronts and DNA. But you'd think the train companies would be well aware of the potential for identity fraud.

 

Is that your real name? I'm not sure whether it's wise to post it here so I've xxxxx'd it out,

Edited by Ethel Street
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I think the first thing to say about the document which has been posted up by my site team colleague @honeybee13 is that this is basically a policy document which which contains guidance as how particular situations are dealt with. It's not legally binding and it doesn't give any legal protection against mis-identifying somebody and then wrecking their lives by prosecutions et cetera.

What it does to from a customer-facing perspective is inform people how they will be treated and the procedures which are likely to be applied. What it does do in terms of guidance for staff, is that it protects staff from disciplinary actions if they follow those guidelines and get it wrong. What it doesn't do is protect the organisation from the legal process if the organisation gets it wrong.

Once again, I'm asking you to provide us with a full list of the railway companies that have contacted you and also any other authorities that you have had to deal with.

I'm a bit worried that this thread is starting to turn into a bit of a talking shop now and we aren't actually moving ahead.

@Slimspider needs now to start researching the information that we've asked for and put it up on this thread.

I can't see any problem at all with the least listing the railway companies and I would have thought that this could be done right now – even if not all of them can be remembered at the moment and some have to be added later on.

This thread has been running for almost 3 full days now and we haven't got any of the information that might be needed to start moving forward.

A subject access request takes 30 days to produce the disclosure. The quicker we get these SARs sent off and the quicker we can start to get some solid information and then decide on the action we can take.

 

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56 minutes ago, Ethel Street said:

 

I agree with comments about revenue inspectors not checking ID but it's hard to see what the alternative is. It would be impractical to arrest everyone then talke them to a police station to check their fingerpronts and DNA. But you'd think the train companies would be well aware of the potential for identity fraud.

 

 

I agree about the difficulties of checking IDs et cetera but frankly that's not the problem here. We have not been asked to give assistance to the transport companies. We've been asked to give assistance to a family which is the victim of identity theft, identity fraud – and even if the transport rules are being followed, inadequate procedures. If the transport rules haven't been followed then we're talking about very serious lapses of procedure – and we will only start to find this out if we can send out SARs.

I don't think it's any kind of defence to say to somebody that we prosecuted you because we followed our guidelines and the problem of fraud on the railways is so great that you are just one of the necessary victims – tough luck, sorry.

The data protection rules are quite clear and there is no reasonableness test. The liabilities are strict

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