Millions ignore identity theft advice

Millions ignore identity theft advice

Easier Finance
1/31/2007 – Despite a major public awareness campaign, people are not taking simple steps to protect themselves from the perils of identity theft, warns credit reference agency Callcredit.

Callcredit was one of the partners in National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, which was held last October to highlight the dangers of identity theft and advise people on how to protect themselves.

Yet new figures released this week by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have revealed that Britons are still leaving themselves vulnerable to identity theft by not taking enough care to protect their personal information.

According to an ICO survey, a third of Britons throw away personal documents such as bank statements and receipts, without shredding them, a quarter do not routinely check their statements, while eight out of ten have never seen a copy of their credit reference file.

Melanie Mitchley, Director of Industry Relations, Callcredit said: “People know what they have to do to protect themselves but they are just not doing it. Personal data is the lifeblood of identity thieves and they are gorging themselves on people’s complacency. Just remembering to destroy personal documents such as bills and statements before throwing them away would go a long way to starving ID fraudsters of opportunities. As a credit reference agency, we see first hand the problems and distress identity fraud causes victims. People are underestimating the heartache. It can take many hours work over several weeks, even months, for someone to recover control of their identity and sort out their credit file.”

Callcredit’s five point plan for protecting yourself from identity theft is:

Step 1 – Be vigilant, your personal details are valuable so treat them as you would treat cash.

Step 2 – Always shred identifying documents, such as utility bills, before you throw them away

Step 3 – View your credit report regularly, this will tell you what is going on in your name.

Step 4 – When you move home, redirect your mail to your new address by contacting Royal Mail Redirection Service on 0845 7740 740, visiting your local post office or

Step 5 – Protect your PC. Make sure you have a firewall and up-to- date antivirus software in place.

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