Consumers 'not doing enough' to prevent ID theft

The Information Commissioner's Office is this week urging consumers to better protect themselves against identity fraud.

Being handled by four- year retained agency Tri­media Harrison Cowley (THC), the publicity drive coincides with European Data Protection Week (29 January-2 February).

‘There is so much more personal information being collected and traded, so consumers need to be just that bit more careful with their details,’ said THC director James Ford.

Research carried out by the ICO has revealed how Britons are not taking adequate steps to stop identity theft.

Despite the fact that one person in five in the UK has been the victim of identity fraud, a quarter of people do not check their bank statements for unusual or unfamiliar activity.

Thirty-five per cent of people purchase items online without checking the security of the site, and 32 per cent do not shred bank or credit card  statements.

Media activity is being acc­ompanied by six public information films, which have been created in-house at the Central Office of Information. 

They will be aired on 100 terrestrial and digital tele­vision channels.

The campaign is also seeking to raise awareness of the benefits of the Data Protection Act, which allows consumers to access the personal information held by companies and public bodies.

‘The act gives us important rights, enabling us to check what personal information is held about us and to correct that information if necessary,’ said Ford.

An example of where consumers can exercise these rights is with credit reference agencies, he added. 

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