As new research reveals that 79% of us are still being careless with our personal details, an unprecedented group of public and private sector partners have come together to support the UK's largest identity fraud awareness drive. The campaign aims to educate consumers and businesses as to the dangers of identity fraud, and the preventative steps that could - and should - be taken.
This year's campaign is supported by the Metropolitan Police, the Identity and Passport Service, Royal Mail, CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Fellowes, Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, HM Revenue and Customs, the Federation of Small Businesses, The Home Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the DVLA, The City of London Police, the BBA, the FSA, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), regional police forces and politicians from across the political divide.
Despite continuing efforts to combat identity fraud - still one of the UK's fastest growing crimes - a Populus poll commissioned for this campaign** shows that three quarters of UK adults have now been personally affected, or have friends and family who have been affected, by identity fraud. Furthermore, 80% of Britons fear having their identity stolen. National bin-raiding research*, commissioned by Fellowes, reveals why: not enough is being done to keep identity thieves at bay.
* Over 19 million households regularly place sensitive materials in their waste and recycling bins
* 11% throw away whole credit/debit card numbers - a combination of a complete card number with its associated expiry date and owner's signature was found in the waste and recycling of 13% of households
* A third of us are still throwing away everything a fraudster needs to steal a person's identity, including passports, driving licences, CVs, phone and utility bills
The Glaswegians fared worst in this study - in one week, 82% of households had disposed of material that could have been used by a fraudster. London's (Wandsworth) residents followed closely behind (74%) had disposed of material that contained such sensitive material). The most responsible behaviour patterns were seen in Birmingham (62%) and Cardiff (69%).
Exclusive research carried out by Experian for National Identity Fraud Prevention Week shows that the wealthiest and most creditworthy sections of society are at the greatest risk, with fraudsters increasingly launching premeditated and sophisticated attacks. However, while wealth and lifestyle can make top-salaried and affluent individuals more likely to be targeted, those renting are also at high risk. Graduates and young professionals are among those most at risk, as are council tenants.
Individuals and businesses are also increasingly at risk online, where the dangers for fraudsters are lower. Later in the week there will be activity aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of paper based and online fraud.
Research conducted for last year's campaign showed that 97% of households regularly placed sensitive materials in their waste and recycling bins. The 18% decrease this year shows the impact that campaigns such as this are having in educating consumers about the dangers of identity fraud, and the preventative steps that could and should be taken. There is light at the end of the tunnel and National Identity Fraud Prevention Week 2007 aims to continue this positive trend.
There are several ways ID fraudsters may potentially target consumers. These include: good old fashioned theft of personal documents or security information; stealing post from communal hallways; using mail which has not been redirected after someone has moved; duping consumers to disclose personal details online; or bin raiding.
ID fraudsters need more than one single piece of information or documentation to steal an identity. Whilst an address, postcode, driving licence, passport, national insurance number or even a utility bill are not necessarily useful to a fraudster in isolation, collectively they are as valuable as cash to the ID fraudster, so they need to be stored securely or disposed with care.
A series of quotes from partners - including the Metropolitan Police, the Identity and Passport Service, Royal Mail, CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Fellowes, Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), The City of London Police, the BBA, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) - can be found in the notes to the editor, below.