October 9, 2007 Identity fraud is an increasingly prevalent global problem and this week marks the third annual National Identity Fraud Prevention Week in the UK. The campaign, backed by both the public and private sectors, aims to educate consumers and businesses as to the dangers of identity fraud and the preventative steps that can be taken.
Identity fraud is one of the UK's fastest growing crimes –with a Populus poll revealing that three quarters of UK adults have now been personally affected, or have friends and family who have been affected. 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 (Phishing); credit card skimming; or "bin raiding". Advanced ways to combat identity fraud are emerging through avenues such as biometric security, however this is still an emerging field and there are some much more basic steps that can be taken before journeying down this high-tech road.
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To this end, the NIFPW website includes lots of information about protecting yourself including shredding personal documentation (such as bills, receipts, bank statements, etc) before disposal, obtaining regular credit reports from credit reference agencies and what to do if you’ve become a victim.
Tyron Hill, Marketing Director, Fellowes and National Identity Fraud Prevention Week spokesperson, said: "Despite continued work to raise awareness of identity fraud, it seems that still, not enough is being done … Our identities should be our most prized possessions - we should take every possible step to safeguard our identities.”
For more information about National Identity Fraud Prevention Week website where there is a range of info and downloadable documents on how to best protect your identity along with a spoof infomercial-style video entitled "Use your head, shred" that uses a light-hearted approach to educate people about a very serious issue.