Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/10/17/id_theft_prevention_week/

Millions of UK households at risk of ID theft

Beware the phantom bin raider

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 17th October 2005 11:11 GMT

Almost 20m UK households are opening themselves up to fraud by failing to take precautions against identity theft, according to new research marking the UK's first-ever National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.

A 'bin raiding' exercise by MEL Research found that 77 per cent of household waste contained at least one or more items which could assist fraudsters in stealing an identity. That means more than 18m UK (out of a total of 24.5m) households are throwing away sensitive financial documents such as bank statements and utility bills that might be useful to "dumpster diving" identity fraudsters.

Although the public fear being a victim of identity fraud more than pickpocketing, mugging or even burglary, a large number still put themselves at risk by disposing of private information without first rendering it unreadable. A poll by Populus shows that 40 per cent of the public questioned rated identity fraud, one of Britain’s fastest growing crimes, as their major concern in a list of crimes that included burglary (27 per cent), mugging (21 per cent) and pickpocketing (3 per cent).

Identity Fraud Prevention Week will run from 17 - 23 October. UK police and credit reference agencies - including the Metropolitan Police, Crimestoppers, CIFAS (The UK's Fraud Prevention Service), Fellowes, Equifax and Experian - are backing the campaign with the launch of a dedicated website (echoed). They've also set up a free-phone number - 00800 1810 1810 - so that members of the public can call to receive a 'Protect Your Identity' guide.

Top tips to prevent ID fraud

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