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Identity theft advice for National ID Fraud Awareness Week

VeCommerce : 10 October, 2008  (Technical Article)
VeCommerce supports National ID Fraud Awareness Week with examples of recent data theft incidents and advice on preventing becoming a victim
To coincide with National ID Fraud Awareness Week which runs between 6th - 12th October 2008, VeCommerce has issued a wake up call for UK citizens to remain cautious in handling their personal identity security and for businesses to provide adequate protection for customers against fraud.

Government figures show that identity fraud costs the economy more than £1 billion annually - and independent pan-European market research, commissioned by Fellowes for National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, reveals that Britain suffers one of the region's highest rates of identity fraud. The survey revealed that 4.3 million adults have already fallen victim.

To help individuals and businesses take stock of the current risk threat situation, VeCommerce's list of recent personal security breaches is a timely reminder of the security issues facing individuals. These breaches included:

1 Data thieves who broke into the computer system of a supermarket chain, stealing 4.2 million credit and debit card details.

2 38,000 credit cards were compromised when the website of an e-tailer was hacked.

3 A hacker breached the security system of an international hotel chain and stole the personal details, including home addresses, phone numbers, place of employment and credit card information, of eight million people that had stayed with the hotel during the past 12 months.

4 The personal details of 25 million people were compromised when two discs containing the information compiled by a government department were lost in the post.

5 The details of thousands of prisoners were left on a memory stick which was stolen from an unlocked desk of a consultant working for an organisation contracted to the prison service.

6 A computer containing the personal details of millions of people was sold on an auction site. The computer had belonged to a data processing company and had been sold without being cleaned.

7 A Navy officer had his car broken into and his laptop stolen. The computer contained over 500,000 military records including financial details and passport numbers.

8 A government department lost the details of three million learner drivers when a disc containing their personal information was mislaid in a foreign country.

9 A major financial institution lost the records of over 350,000 of its customers when a disc containing the information was lost in the post between two offices.

10 Jeremy Clarkson, talk show host of the UK program, "Top Gear" claimed that no one could debit money from his bank account after he publicised his bank account numbers. Shortly afterwards someone had accessed the account and made a £500 direct debit to charity and the host ran for cover!

Brett Feldon, EMEA General Manager at VeCommerce commented, "There is no doubt that both consumers and businesses must be more vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against ID fraud. Individuals still need to be more careful about the risks associated with divulging personal details whereas organisations need to consider implementing more sophisticated methods of authenticating a person's identity. Finding alternative methods to verify whether someone is who they say they are will in particular help to address CNP (card not present) fraud which has seen a dramatic rise in the last 12 months."

He added, "National ID Fraud Awareness Week is a great opportunity for both UK citizens to be reminded of the risks inherent in providing personal details to third parties and to make the business community more aware of their responsibilities to protect their customers,"

A survey conducted on behalf of VeCommerce in Australia earlier this year found that almost half (47%) of respondents preferred organisations to use a fairly complex process with fairly high security for identification while 17% preferred a very complex process with very high security. Only 2% of respondents wanted a simple or fairly simple process. The same survey found that 52% of respondents believed answering a personal details or history question when confirming their identity over the phone meant their details were vulnerable to theft.
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