Richmond Council has joined forces with the police to warn residents and businesses about the increasing incidence of identity fraud.
Britain suffers one of Europe's highest rates of identity fraud; despite 99% of adults claiming to be aware of the issue, 4.3 million adults have already fallen victim and the crime costs Britons more than £1billion a year.
A nationwide campaign has been launched to reverse the trend - National Identity Fraud Prevention Week highlights the various ways in which criminals use information via paperwork, the internet, email scams and credit/debit cards thefts.
Cllr David Williams, Cabinet member for Communities on Richmond Council, said:
"Richmond upon Thames is the safest borough in London with regard to crime, but ID fraud is an area of criminal activity where the perpetrator need not be anywhere within miles in order to target a victim.
"It's shocking that the majority of adults do not understand how best to counteract the increasing threat of identity fraud.
"In order to protect ourselves from this potentially devastating crime, we need to encourage best practice in the home and work environment. We have a duty to protect the personal details of residents and employees.
"For example, Richmond Council uses a fully audited secure shrdding system for dealing with sensitive paperwork and I would urge the borough's residents and businesses to adopt security-minded habits and use common sense when using or disposing of any material which contains personal or financial details."
And the borough's good housekeeping pays off, since the shredded waste is collected at no cost by a specialist recycling firm.
Chief Superintendant Rick Turner, Borough Commander, said:
"Identity fraud is extremely difficult to detect. Prevention is the best way to counteract identity fraud and is mostly common sense."
"If a form of ID is lost or stolen - such as a credit card, driving licence - even a TV licence - it should be reported to the relevant authority immediately. Secondly, be careful of what you throw away - shred documents and credit card statements and cut up credit and debit cards before putting them in the bin or for recycling."
For more details of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week including advice to businesses and members of the public regarding precautions against a variety of ID fraud methods, visit: http://www.stop-idfraud.co.uk/index.htm
A very worrying issue. We do have a shredder at home and make sure paperwork always goes in there but you do have to wonder how many people bother and are just setting themselves up to be targetted by the fraudsters.
Member since: 19th June 2012
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