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BSIA Advice On Preventing Identity Fraud

British Security Industry Association (BSIA) : 15 October, 2010  (Technical Article)
As part of National Identity Fraud Prevention Week in the UK, The British Security Industry Association discusses the prevention of data breaches and their consequences to British industry
With National Identity Fraud Prevention Week 2010 starting on the 18th of October and the number of reported identity fraud incidents growing each year, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) reminds businesses of the importance of information destruction and the consequences of identity theft.

According to an annual study by the Ponemon Institute the cost of UK data breaches increased by 7% between 2008 and 2009, and has risen by a staggering 36% in the past two years. These alarming figures highlight the need for all corporations to ensure that firm disposal procedures are in place for all documents containing personal or confidential information.

The most notorious data breaches in recent years include the loss of computer discs containing personal data of all families in the UK currently claiming child benefit, and the Information Commissioner stepping in to tell 11 UK banks to stop dumping customers' statements in bins on the pavement outside branches.

These types of data breaches not only have a negative impact on reputation and consumer confidence, but also have serious financial implications. Each individual record lost cost UK organisations an average of £64 in 2009, according to the third annual UK study sponsored by data protection firm, PGP Corporation.

Consumers, too, face hefty financial consequences when their personal data security is breached, each facing the expensive and time-consuming process of safeguarding or restoring their finances and credit ratings.

The law governing the destruction of confidential information is becoming tougher. Just recently changes to the law have given power to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), which can now issue penalty fines of up to £500,000 for breaching the Data Protection Act, meaning businesses should be looking towards the services of a professional information destruction company more often to avoid such incidents.

National Identity Fraud Prevention Week aims to raise awareness and provide individuals and businesses with vital information about how to prevent identity fraud from happening. Some examples of steps that can be made include ensuring all unwanted documents, CDs and DVDs are being properly shredded, wiping clean the information held on old computers before disposing of them and regularly changing network as well as PC passwords.

'In recent years, financial institutions in particular have been criticised for the careless way in which they were disposing of sensitive personal information. To avoid similar mistakes, businesses should choose a trusted information destruction supplier who will dispose of their data correctly and in accordance with current laws' says Russell Harris, Chairman of the BSIA's Information Destruction Section.

BSIA members meet strict corporate requirements, so customers who source confidential waste destruction and disposal systems from them can be confident that they will receive quality advice and an excellent service.
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