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Published on November 15th, 2013 | by admin

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What Steps Are You Taking To Guard Against ID Fraud?

Here at the Post Office we’re keen to get behind the identity fraud ‘Don’t Let It Be You’ initiative.

ID Fraud occurs when a criminal takes someone’s personal details and uses them to obtain credit or make a purchase fraudulently. Shredding is one effective deterrent using either confetti cut shredders or strip cut shredders.

Personal identity fraud is a big deal in the UK which is why the ‘Don’t let it be you’ awareness campaign has been set up by a taskforce of partners which includes our friends at Fellowes.

Safe disposal of sensitive personal information is crucial to guard against ID fraud and here at the Post Office Shop we stock a range of personal and professional shredders.

According to new research it seems plenty of us could be at risk of ID fraud. Over a third of all those surveyed (36%) admitted that they don’t bother to implement basic security measures like shredding confidential documents containing family details.

Whilst the risks for children and teenagers of cybercrime have been well documented, it seems there is less focus from families to address the risks – particularly amongst the older generations – parents and grandparents.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the research reveals that 68% of adults will actively take steps to protect their spouse or partner from ID fraud, making sure personal information about them both online or in paper form is kept safe. However, nearly two thirds would not do the same for their parents and only a quarter (25%) will look after their grandparents in this way.

Less than half (49%) will take steps to protect their children by making sure documents containing important family information are kept safe or destroyed securely.

The survey also reveals that Young adults are particularly at risk from ID fraudsters. The 18 to 24 years age group is more likely to live in shared accommodation, like halls of residence, shared houses and flats with communal postal areas which are more vulnerable to opportunistic fraudsters.

Of the 18 to 24 year olds questioned by researchers, only 34% feel their personal information could be vulnerable to ID fraud when items of post get lost and only 41% worry about stolen identity documents. Yet, a whopping 62% of this group admits that they do not take any steps to protect themselves from identity fraud and fewer (43%) see online social sites as a vulnerability.

TV presenter Jenny Powell has been backing the campaign after revealing she has been a victim of ID fraud on two separate occasions – both her personal and business accounts were hacked by fraudsters.

So to guard against ID fraud and to avoid going through what Jenny and countless others have experienced, here’s some handy tips and advice individuals:

  • Keep your personal information, credit cards, passwords &PIN numbers in a safe place (preferably a lockable drawer or safe) & don’t share these details with people or companies you don’t know or trust
  • Never throw away bills, receipts, credit or debit card slips, bank statements or even unwanted post without destroying them first, ideally with a cross-cut shredder
  • Always protect your post, especially if you live in a building where other people can easily access it. When you move house, redirect your mail from  your old address to your new one for at least a year
  • Check all your statements and financial records as soon as they arrive & report any discrepancies straight away
  • Regularly obtain a copy of your credit report
  • Be wary of what information you publish online and who you make it visible to. Think before publishing phone numbers, pictures of your home, workplace / school, your address, date of birth or full name
  • Make sure your computer is protected from the threat of online attacks

…and some extra advice for businesses:

  • Register with Companies House and make sure you sign up to their Electronic Filing, PROOF & Monitor services which will help to prevent fraudsters changing the names of your directors and effectively ‘hijacking’ your company
  • Make sure that all staff are fully aware of the risk of identity fraud. Create a clear set of guidelines concerning the handling, storage, sharing and disposal of sensitive information, both online and off-line

Always make sure that unwanted information is disposed of properly and securely. As well as paper, don’t forget to shred CDs and always make sure that the information on old computers is wiped clean before throwing them out

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About the Author

patrick.maddison@vowretail.com'



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