'Someone out there is pretending to be me': Northampton business owner defrauded of 55k by conmen

Company boss Steve Allan was defrauded of 55k by a conman who cloned his passport... and the culprit might still be out there.
Company boss Steve Allan was defrauded of 55k by a conman who cloned his passport... and the culprit might still be out there.

A Northampton businessman fears he could be defrauded at any moment because a confidence trickster who stole £55,000 from his company still has a cloned passport.

But Steve Allan, the boss of office interior designers Verve Workspace, believes the police response to the identity theft has not been good enough.

Victims of fraud, where the perpetrator is believed to be outside the constabulary boundaries, have to report it to Action Fraud.

Victims of fraud, where the perpetrator is believed to be outside the constabulary boundaries, have to report it to Action Fraud.

On Friday, February 9, a man walked into a Newmarket branch of HSBC with a fake passport pretending to be him before changing Mr Allan's signature.

Over the next four days the grey-haired man transferred £55,000 out of his company accounts in six separate transactions.

But when dad-of-three Mr Allan reported the fraud to police on February 14, he was just given a pamphlet and told to fill out an online form.

Now, more than a week later, he still has not heard from an officer - even though a man could be out there using his identity at any moment.

He said: "If someone robbed a cornershop for just £5,000 police would be swarming around it.

"But someone has just walked in and stolen £55,000 from my company and I've just been given a pamphlet."

Mr Allan, 47, went to the police counter at Northampton Guildhall's One-Stop shop to report the crime on February 14 and was told to contact Action Fraud, the country's national fraud intelligence agency.

But he says he has had "zero response" from Action Fraud so far.

HSBC bank, on the other hand, have supplied him with CCTV images of the suspect entering the Newmarket branch.

He has already been refunded by the multinational bank.

But Mr Allan says the fact the culprit is still out there is a big concern.

"Someone out there has got a passport with my name on," he said. "I don't know how to protect myself from that.

"For a lot of businesses that amount of money could shut them down.

"People could lose their business and their house, all sorts of stuff could happen."

Mr Allan says he is always safe online and uses different passwords for accounts.

But since the money was taken from his account also says he has since received suspicious phone calls at home - appearing to be from his own work number.

Cloned phone numbers are often used by con-artists to scam money out of their victims, as they appear to be from a recognised contact.

If you have been the victim of fraud contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman, said: "Our internal Fraud Team have contacted Mr Allan to update him on the report he made. Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of fraud should call ActionFraud on 0800 123 2040.”