Re Correction of some of the incorrect assumptions in this thread...
"No... the letter never comes from the bank, it comes from the payee... that's because one of the Direct Debit conditions is that you are so informed of the amount(s) to be debited from the account, and of the relevant dates, in advance."
So all you need do is write some random fake address (or even a random real address, it doesn't matter) to go with the fake name (since neither the company nor the bank check that the name supplied matches the name on the actual bank account) and the "stolen" account number (if reading a cheque and learning the account number can be classed as "stealing" anything).
The letter from the company advising that 1000 quid's going to be debitted from your account each month on the 21st as of this February is going to be sent to the bogus address. If it is a real address, the likelihood is that the householder will glance at the name, say "no one in this house" and drop it in the bin. Even if they do scrawl "Not known at this address, return to sender" on it and drop it back in the mail on their way to work, the person who checks the mail back at the company is most likely to shrug and bin it as it's not his/her job to locate the right address for the payer.
So the person whose account has been targetted will have no warning of said direct debit until they go to buy their groceries and find their account is already in the red and is going to get worse once the bank starts reversing the autopayments and smacking dishonour fees in place.
From peter: "The Bank’s excuse is that they security vetted the Company raising the direct debit really really carefully, and so when the get a valid direct debit, the HAVE to honour it. (‘valid’ means only that the account number is correct)."
Yeah, because the company is deemed to be safe and would not *commit* fraud - yet the company is not equipped to detect if they themselves are being defrauded (as the bank cites DPA as a reason to prevent the [trusted and non-fraudulent] company from confirming that the account details provided are kosher.)
In short, the banks know that the data is unverified and therefore cannot be trusted, despite knowing that the company itself would not deliberately supply fraudulent information - and yet they still proceed as though the data were totally trustworthy.
Wankers. And then if enough fraud is committed throughout the year and they've had to restore a lot of money into accounts that should not have been removed in the first place (would not have been, had they used proper security checks) - to the point that their stakeholders are at risk of having their enjoyment of banana daiquiris, underage prostitutes and 5-Star Bahaman resorts curtailled due to falling profits - they can use the slump in profits to justify increasing fees and interest on loans (while decreasing interest on savings accounts).
Re: It was a setup:
Pete Burgess, what exactly did you smoke BEFORE you slept on it? Were there strange eldrich creatures roaming around the room at the time you came to your conclusion?
Suuuuuuuuuure, a loud opinionated public figure just decides to loudly change his opinion and so fakes being targetted. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.
And he's popping by my place later to drop off one of his super cars for my wife...