So how much is your identity worth to you?

14 January 2015

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Today a lot of systems of society involve the validation of an individual’s identity. It is this identity that allows individuals to obtain medical services, bank services, accommodation and so on. Basic human rights come for a price. The majority of society still struggle to value their identity, it’s not something you can hold or touch which makes it hard. But here’s a realisation – other people will value your identity even if you don’t and will stop at nothing to get hold of it.

For example, I’m bored of being me and fancy a change. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be James Bond. More importantly, how much would it cost me to buy a new convincing identity? At the time of writing, these were actual prices (subject to exchange rates from Bitcoin to GBP). This is what I found:

  • Birth certificate: £50 (Although an official replacement is only £10)
  • Bank statement / Utility bill: £30

(Prices go up if you want all the above to match or have a particular location or gender you’re trying to source)  

  • UK Passport and entry onto the Passport database: £600
  • Credit cards with PIN and printed with name and bank logo of choice (minimum £3k available spend): £42 (After a discount of 35% for ordering 10 or more!)

If we go ‘full’ Bond, I’m going to need an Aston Martin and a Walter PPK. If I’m using a credit card for a second-hand Aston Martin DB9 Volante (Brosnan Bond!) I’ve found for the pricey sum of £45k, that’s at least 15 credit cards from the above (assuming I’m spreading the payments).

Now you were worried that identity documents can be purchased online, how about I tell you “on the dark web I can also buy firearms and ammunition”.

Current market value for a Bond’s trademark pistol is only £300 and for 50 rounds of ammunition £20. So grouping all this together, my personality change would set me back £672 with a little change left over to go to a casino! Shocking isn’t it!

This is how much your identity is worth to others, so surely now should mean more to you. This doesn’t take into account the damage that can be caused by identity theft. The ability to prove to a credit provider of an identity can lead to much larger sums being involved. Imagine how you have to prove you weren’t you on this occasion.

Simple steps to help minimise the risk of identity theft:

  • Burn or shred obsolete documents from home, such as bank statements, utility bills and other sensitive records.
  • Make sure you hide your identification documents in the house, in the unlikely event you’re targeted for burglary you’re making it harder for the identify thief.
  • Ask yourself: does this organisation/person/group really need all this information?
  • Always check the recipient of your information when dealing online.
  • Always have security software protecting your device from malicious software and viruses.