When Bennett had his identity stolen, the consequences were devastating. He spent two years trying to clear his name during which time he became penniless and homeless and had to live with family and friends.
Years later Bennett wrote a comedy show about his experience. He perfomed the show; It Wasn't Me, It Was Bennett Arron at the Edinburgh Festival for what was meant to be a short ten day run. However, due to the overwhelming response and excellent reviews;
'Kafka-esque... Hilarious' The Standard
'Fascinating... funny... comedic invention and excellence ****' Chortle
the run was extended.
As a result of the show, Bennett was asked by Channel 4 to direct and present a documentary on the subject of Fraud and Identity Theft. In the programme,
In the Documentary, How To Steal An Identity, Bennett proved through a series of stunts, how easy the crime of ID Theft is to carry out. He first stole the identities of the general public and then went on to steal the identity of the Home Secretary. This action resulted in Bennett being arrested in a dawn raid by Scotland Yard under the code-name Operation Hydrogen.
The Documentary was Pick of The Week in The Guardian and The Telegraph and was called ‘Fascinating and Disturbing’ by the TV Times. Bennett went on to be shortlisted for a BAFTA.
Bennett now tours around the world, telling his disturbingly true yet funny account of what it's like to have your identity stolen and revealing the devastating consequences of making a documentary ‘in the public interest’.
He has spoken at events around the world including Infosec in London, The Palo Alto Conference in Holland, The International Fraud Convention in Italy, The International Congress On Anti-Fraud & Anti-Corruption in Poland and the CISO Security Forum in South Africa. He was also the opening keynote speaker at Auscert in Australia in front of 1500 delegates.
Bennett has recently written a memoir about his experience of Identity Theft and how making a documentary ‘in the public interest’ can have devastating consequences. The book, Heard The One About The Identity Theft? is available for Kindle and as a paperback here.
Bennett has been called… 'A Welsh Seinfeld' by The Guardian, 'Genuinely Original and Funny' by The Times and ‘Case Number 2477419’ by The Metropolitan Police.
You can watch the documentary online by clicking here
Bennett has appeared as an Identity Theft Expert on Sky News, Lorraine, 3@3, Channel 4 News, Five News and BBC Breakfast.
Testimonial's for Bennett's Identity Theft Talk
Our audience loved your presentation. The chair of the Summit, was at one point wiping tears from his eyes. Having your participation directly contributes to the overall results of the event and the good feeling everyone took away with them. You’ll be pleased to know that this year, with your help, we achieved the highest satisfaction score ever on the European IAM Summit – thank you! In terms of your results, you did very well indeed. You achieved 4.86 as the content score and as the 4.95 ‘speaker’ score. To put this in context, that’s the highest scores of any speaker at this event and among the top scores at any of our events in the past two years – you’re the highest scoring individual ever on this particular event.
Comments received from the audience included the following:
- Very appropriate!
- Thank you very much for this excellent different presentation.
Naturally I really hope you feel good about this. I loved the way you let a serious point seep into everyone’s minds through your story without ever lecturing or spelling out a ‘moral’. It was one of the most well-composed and in some ways subtle ways of making an important point that I’ve ever seen.
Nick Soulsby, Product Manager, EMEA Events, Gartner
Dear Bennett, I would personally, and on behalf UK & Ireland, like to extend our appreciation and thanks for making our Focus Event a great success. Your preparation and investment in the event is much appreciated and your presentation was so funny but peppered with all the seriousness that comes with Identity Theft that is struck just the right balance. The feedback is all positive, and I am so pleased that we had you come and speak at our event. Everybody loved you and want to see more of you, so that must be a good sign!
Jacqueline de Rojas, VP United Kingdom & Ireland, McAfee International Ltd
Talking about identity theft to an audience of Information Assurance professionals might have been seen as a bit of a challenge, but capturing our full attention from the start Bennett delivered one of the best, funniest after dinner speeches we have ever had at our annual conference.
As security professionals we are only too aware of the problem of identity theft, but Bennett’s open, self-effacing and humorous description of his plight highlighted just how broken and yet totally inflexible the process is for creating and then cancelling false accounts set up with service suppliers. Everyone was laughing at and empathising with Bennett as he told how he struggled to take back his stolen identity.
SBL Secretariat, 2013 IA Practitioners’ Conference
Your presentation was the highlight at our IT security conference in Australia with 1000 delegates. I was pleased with how much positive feedback I received from the delegates, so I’m glad we chose you to be our opening keynote speaker. It set the mood for the following 3 days of conference presentations. You were entertaining, engaging and funny.
Claire Groves, AusCERT Conference Chair
You brought a welcome realism to the consequences and frustrations of falling victim to identity fraud while at the same time avoiding making this a tale of woe. By combining humour and storytelling flair you achieved the seemingly impossible; making financial fraud entertaining!
Owen Roberts, Head of Callcredit Check, Callcredit Limited
I’d like to thank you on behalf of the Enterprise Privacy Group and everyone at last week’s Members’ Forum for your hilarious, insightful and touching story of your identity theft experiences. Your audience of privacy and identity professionals, which included some of the country’s leading authorities on the topic, were shocked at the story, since it is rarely they get to hear first-hand accounts of identity theft, but all of them commented on how amusing and well-delivered the story was.
Toby Stevens, Director, Enterprise Privacy Group Ltd
With such a varied group of people it’s difficult to pitch the entertainment at the right level but you certainly achieved that. The audience enjoyed the show which is fabulous. It was a pleasure to work with you.
Jacqueline Cottier, Marketing Manager, The Institute of Money Laundering Prevention Officers
Your terrible experience as a victim of identity theft combined with your talent as a comedian enabled you to put a serious message to an audience in a very engaging, entertaining and informing way.
Jim Hodgkins, Managing Director, CreditExpert, Experian
I would like to express our thanks and appreciation for accepting our invitation and delivering a presentation during the VII International Congress on Internal Control, Audit, Anti-Fraud and Anti-Corruption Issues. Your excellent presentation won recognition among both participants and other speakers. I do hope we will have the honour to also have you as a guest and speaker next year, at the VIII International Congress in Krakow, Poland.
Edmund J Saunders CFE, FCIB, C.Dip,A.F., President of ACFE Poland Chapter and President of PIKW (Polish Institute of Internal Control and Audit)
Bennett Arron's tale of identity theft was one of the talking points of the conference.