Fraudsters have made a man’s life “hell”, caused illness and blighted his business plans after setting up nearly 20 mobile phone contracts in his name.
David Elliott said he was hounded for months by shops, mobile phone networks and a debt collection agency telling him he owed money after contracts with top-of-the range phones were taken out in the London area.
The 25-year-old, of Marten Close, Hampton Magna, said: “It’s been hell. Since it started it’s cost me money and time in letters and calls to phone shops and networks trying to sort this out.
“I’ve had around 120 letters about the contracts – it’s been a nightmare.”
What infuriated him is how the fraudsters were able to set up contracts in the name of David Elliott with a Santander bank account in the name of Dominic Elliott to pay bills – with his address and date of birth – despite him never having a connection with the bank.
And he slammed phone shop staff, saying: “Surely, the alarms bells should have been ringing when a credit reference check, which they are supposed to do, would show up multiple applications for credit over a short period of time.
“Also, people are supposed to show ID such as bank statements, utility bills, or a driving licence to prove who they are.”
The months of stress brought on by the fraud forced him to give up his part-time job at the Barracks Bar in Hampton Magna. David, who lives with his parents Bob and Andrea Elliott, said: “I was getting high anxiety levels - knowing that someone has got your personal details. You wondered what else they were going to do.”
To get back on his feet the ex-pupil of Aylesford School and former graphic design student at Warwickshire College set up Ink Den, a T-shirt printing company.
But because of the bad credit rating on him caused by the fraudsters, he couldn’t get bank finance because checks showed he owed money.
However, he was later able to get help from the Prince’s Trust for his venture.
“Relative to my finances, this had cost me a fortune. But what price can you put on all the distress and possible damage to my business because I could not get finance?”
David is angry with Santan-der, saying he was offered no help in clearing his name and no reply to his letter of complaint after first reporting the fraud to the Leamington branch.
“The first I knew of it was when I got a letter from San-tander in November saying there were ‘security concerns’ with my account. What account? I had no Santander account?”
He contacted the Financial Ombudsman Service about his concerns and said Santander had not replied to his first complaint letter.
“I’m going to make an official complaint to Santander about all my time taken up trying to solve this, my costs, the distress and the holding back of funding for my business. The contracts were opened using a Santander account. What happened to the Santander security checks?”
David said he reported the crime to police and Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud and internet crime reporting centre.
A bank spokesman said: “Santander takes fraudulent activity very seriously and as a result of David Elliott bringing this matter to our attention, Santander has closed the account (Dominic Elliott’s). This action will not impact on David Elliott’s credit rating in any way or his ability to receive credit. To open an account with Santander, customers must provide two forms of ID, one of which must confirm their full name.”
Santander said Dominic Elliott was an existing customer when he changed the address on his account, rather than a new customer. It said it was investigating the complaint about its response time to David’s first letter.