Recession fuels ID theft fears

Recession fuels ID theft fears

Over three quarters of Brits are worried about identity theft yet two thirds admit they don't know how to protect themselves, according to a survey for Lloyds TSB.

The poll of 1000 UK adults, conducted by ICM, also shows 39% of respondents feel more at risk to ID theft than they did six months ago. Over half of those concerned fear that the recession and rising unemployment is driving more people towards criminal activity and ID theft.

Another cause for concern is social networking sites, with 57% of those questioned worried that they make it easier to steal personal details - a 10% increase on those with the same worries last year.

The study shows that as many as two in five Brits have experienced ID fraud, half of those having been victims personally. However, two thirds of those surveyed admit that they have not done enough to protect themselves and one quarter don't know how.

Jatin Patel, Lloyds TSB, says: "As technology improves, it gets easier and easier for criminals to steal our identities and during tough economic times the temptation becomes greater."

Separately, research commissioned for the National Identity Fraud Prevention Week shows that only three per cent of Brits feel completely confident the organisations they deal with handle their personal data responsibly.

This lack of trust appears justified, with only 64% of businesses having in place a clear policy on how to handle documents with sensitive information. This may help to explain why nearly a third of employees admit to always throwing sensitive documents directly into the bin without shredding them.

This is despite the fact that 64% of employees believe bins are a bigger risk to customer details than computer systems or document theft.

Overall, 71% of UK employees think their companies should do more to ensure confidential documents are handled responsibly.

The latest figures from Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, show that nearly 60,000 UK residents have fallen victim to ID fraud so far this year - a 36% increase when compared with the first nine months of 2008.

Despite the risks, 44% sill don't shred documents containing sensitive information before placing them in the bin and only 54% routinely check financial statements.

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