This article was published in SecurityPark.net
Identity theft ranks currently as one of the UK's fastest growing crimes. Statistics from the UK Identity Fraud Steering Committee, estimate the total cost of identity fraud to the UK economy at approximately £1.2 billion every year, equivalent to around £25 for every adult in Britain. And according to CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service, one in 10 people have already been a victim of identity fraud in the UK.
The Data Protection Act of 1998 states that all organisations are legally required to store, secure and destroy personal and confidential information responsibly and securely. Despite this, identity fraud is still a frequent occurrence within business, often with devastating consequences for themselves, their customers and their employees, and at a cost to the UK economy of over £1 billion every year.
National Identity Fraud Prevention Week takes place this year during the week beginning 12 October. It seeks to inform the general public and businesses about the threat of ID fraud and the simple steps businesses and consumers can take to protect themselves. National Identity Fraud Prevention Week 2009 is supported by: the Metropolitan Police, Fellowes, National Fraud Authority, Federation of Small Businesses, Equifax, CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Call Credit, Experian, Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service, British Chambers of Commerce, British Retail Consortium and the Royal Mail.
Shred-it has witnessed an upsurge in owners of small enterprises across the UK, including those operating from home, visiting Shred-it's branches across the country to request assistance in securely shredding confidential business materials. In addition, instances of customers from across a range of backgrounds asking Shred-it to securely shred confidential personal information have also become more frequent.
"Concerns about personal data security are now more prominent in the public consciousness than ever before. No business, regardless of its size, can afford to run the risk of facing the financial and reputational damage which a data breach can inflict." says Robert Guice, Senior Vice President, EMEA of Shred-it Limited.
"Smaller businesses, including those operating from home, often don't have cost-effective or secure destruction facilities. Some individuals only have strip shred personal shredders which meet neither the security specifications or volume requirements of small businesses. This is why, with concerns over their business' reputation and customer confidentiality, they are coming direct to our branches to securely destroy their confidential documents. We believe that this will continue to increase as identity fraud awareness grows."
Robert Guice added, "The same thinking applies when it comes to the destruction of personal documents such as bills or bank statements. Members of the public are coming direct to firms such as ourselves because they want to be able to enjoy the peace of mind associated with destroying information of this kind using a totally secure process."
Mike Denny from Manchester who works in the insurance claims industry, recently contacted Shred-it to dispose of archived client information from a small business he previously ran. Mike Denny says, "During the course of running my old business I accumulated large amounts of confidential client documents which I was legally required to retain for six years. Much of the information contained in these documents was highly sensitive and needed to be properly disposed of. Simply dumping these documents as part of my general refuse wasn't an option as this would have left my ex-clients facing a heightened risk of identity theft and other fraud. I contacted Shred-it's Manchester branch which helped me resolve this issue by securely shredding all this documentation on the spot at their depot.