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By Robert Collins

Let me start this week’s blog by expressing my regret that I could not make it to the Regentsmead/NACFB presentation on Thursday. I was on my way, virtually there in fact, as I stepped off the train at Blackfriars station and purposely strode towards the NACFB building I suddenly realised that I was striding along without my bag that contained my wallet, house keys, driver’s licence etc.

My confident walk then became a panicking run back to the station in a desperate attempt to try and recover my bag. The train had gone and I was directed to the control office to ring ahead to other stations, but there was no sign of my bag. I felt like a complete idiot and just could not believe that I had been so careless as to leave my bag on the train.

I immediately cancelled by bank and credit cards (the only saving grace was that my phone and my travel card were still in my pocket), made arrangements for a locksmith to change the locks at my house and rang the lost property department for Southern Rail.

My business cards were in my bag, so I am guessing that any honest person finding my bag would have contacted me by now. So, I have to assume that a nefarious person (or persons) has my possessions. The best case scenario is that they have taken the cash and dumped everything else. The alternative is that they now have my bank account details, home address and personal details from my driver’s licence. I am no expert, but that sounds like an ideal recipe for identity fraud.

The days when banks and other financial institutions declared that they were infallible and that victims of account crimes had allowed their PINs to be discovered are long gone. So, any potential losses are likely to be covered, but I know from other people’s experiences that the time, effort and hassle to deal with these matters can be quite draining.

Why am I sharing this? Well, firstly, if you happen to receive any finance applications in the name of Robert Collins, it probably isn’t me, so in the words of (showing my age here) Shaw Taylor ‘keep ‘em peeled’. More importantly, it is to highlight how we are all just one event away from being a potential victim of financial crime.

The wife of one of my colleagues was the victim of an identity theft following the theft of some financial correspondence. Indeed, here at Brightstar our own web site was cloned with the intent, no doubt, to harvest financial details from unsuspecting clients.

I am normally a very careful person with my paperwork and this makes this event even more galling. Here at Brightstar we constantly monitor our processes to ensure that we are working to the best possible standards of client and business security, but you never know what is around the corner or what unexpected events may occur.