3 easy ways to protect against identity theft at home

Tips from office specialistsRexel

Identity theft is at record high levels. Cifas reported that approximately 173,000- identity frauds had taken place in the UK in 2016 (and that’s only those that were reported).

Names, addresses and phone numbers should not be considered invaluable to fraudsters. If a fraudster can marry these pieces of information with dates of birth, national insurance numbers, credit card numbers or online shopping accounts, they have enough to cause you a lot of pain.

Why taking precautions is important

You may be up to date with document management at work, but are you replicating what you know at home?

Handling physical documents with care is just as important as protecting your Internet profile. The key to minimising the risk of fraud at home lies in destroying the important documents you no longer need, especially those with identifying information.

We dont always realise just how much personal and sensitive information is stored in our own homes, from computers, to smartphones, post, emails and texts.

Social media has become a platform where personal information is shared on a daily basis. With unprecedented levels of active users, the willingness to display this information has increased. The good news is that there are strict privacy settings that allow us to protect who can see our personal information. Check yours regularly to make sure you’re not sharing any potentially damaging information.

It is not only costly and time consuming to change all your personal details, it could have very damaging effects for you, your family and your work if it fell into the wrong hands.

Having your identity stolen and used can hit your finances hard. Fraudsters could take money from your bank account or they could take credit out in your name. Their actions can hurt your credit score and affect your chances of getting credit in the future.

Top tips for preventing identity theft at home

Here are three simple behaviours that we advocate for office workers that you can replicate at home to avoid falling victim of identity theft:

  1. Destroy all paper documentswith your personal data on after use.

Anything that comes through your letter box should be considered a risk. It’s crucial to appropriately dispose of documents that display sensitive information. A great way to achieve this is to shred your documents. The Style+ Cross Cut Shredder is perfect for home offices; to help dispose of confidential documents appropriately.

  1. Blank out names, addresses, and bank account numbers on important documents that you are storing, or before recycling or destroying your letters.

If you need to dispose of tangible documents with a large area of private or confidential information, it’s important to blank out the sensitive information. The Rexel JOY ID Guard is ideal for protecting any information on paper that you want to keep private. 

  1. Create secure passwords on all accounts and update regularlydont leave them lying around for others to find!

To prevent someone hijacking your smartphone or laptop, ensure you use strong passwords. Use a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, symbols and numbers to ensure maximum security. Also it’s important to use different passwords for different accounts – especially your online banking.

For more information on what you need to consider when protecting your identity at home, click here to see our fraud prevention infographic.

To stay up to date with the latest releases of our security and ID protection products, follow @rexeleurope on Twitter or visit our website www.rexeleurope.com.

What Generation Z Can Teach Us About Data Protection

 

Generation Z is the first generation that has grown up surrounded by the internet. They are the generation born in 1995 or later and follow the millennials that reached adulthood as we entered this century. Sure, most of the Millennials had access to the internet from an early age, but their childhoods didn’t revolve around being constantly connected. With their entire lives spent online, Generation Z will be inherently more tech savvy with expectations of speed and convenience to match. So, when it comes to data protection and staying safe online, what can we learn from the generation that was born multitasking?

Generation Z – always connected

 Use Less Permanent Apps

While Facebook may still be the biggest social channel, Generation Z has widely adopted Snapchat. They have already witnessed and no-doubt been warned of potential the blowback from poor decisions made on social media.  The temporary nature of Snapchat, where messages are only visible for a short amount of time, is deemed, convenient, fit for purpose.

A Facebook post can be broadcasted to everyone and will stay on your wall permanently unless you take it down. Perhaps Generation Z has become more self-aware. The concept of a picture or video only being broadcasted for a limited amount of time appeals to young people who have been taught to be aware of their digital footprint and will be mindful of future ramifications of their decisions in the digital space.

Embracing Biometrics

In the last twenty or so years, passwords have become a much greater part of our lives. With the explosion of the internet, we have all acquired more and more accounts for a range of different purposes, meaning we have a whole lot of passwords to remember – or at least we should have.

The reality is that most people are terrible with passwords. For optimal security, you should have a different password for each of your accounts. If you use the same for everything, your life can quickly unravel in the event that you are subject to identity theft or the company storing your data suffers a security breach. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to remember multiple passwords, meaning that much of the online landscape is quite insecure.

Rather than coming up with multiple obscure and difficult to remember passwords, Generation Z seems ready to take a different approach. They are much more likely to use biometrics than other generations, with 70% of young people saying they would prefer to use biometrics instead of passwords by the year 2020.

While the use of biometrics does have some of its own complications, fingerprints and facial scans can help to solve many of the problems with passwords. We can’t forget our biometrics in the same way we can forget a password, nor can we create fingerprints that are easy for computers to guess. In this way, Generation Z is beginning to solve some of the problems that older users often struggle with.

Biometric security authentification is now becoming common place

 

Keeping It in the Cloud

Generation Z is also more likely to use cloud services than older generations. The safety debate between cloud storage and traditional systems raged on for years, but in the end, the cloud seems to have won. There’s a chance they’ve been educated using devices that own a Chromebook that doesn’t even have a hard drive. Cloud services can be just as safe, but they also come with much more flexibility and scalability.  External hard drives, USB drives and file storage media such as DVDs will not be the first thought had when thinking of backing up or transferring files.

 Generation Z and the Future of Data Protection

Generation Z may only be starting to enter the workforce, but it won’t be long before they play a much more dominant role. Their perceptions of technology are radically different from those that came before them and they have definitely adopted good online behaviour but are also likely to have less awareness of the need to think about the security of physical devices and documents than previous generations.

 When it comes to data protection employers should take note of how Generation Z approaches and interacts with the internet.

Perceptions of convenience and efficiency are likely to be dominating factors contributing to data protection employee compliance levels.

If you’re concerned about user compliance when it comes to protecting your data consider our user-friendly Rexel Auto Feed Shredders that allow users to load a stack of paper and walk away, making shredding as simple as stack, shut, done.

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Defend against data fraud with high security shredding technology

Even with the evolution of digital, organisations still need effective ways to protect against paper-based data breaches and ID theft. Automatic paper shredders are the ideal solution for destroying sensitive documents, with high security micro cut shredders capable of reducing an A4 sheet into over 2,000 pieces.

When selecting a shredder, remember to consider your capacity, security and feature requirements. Try out our Rexel shredder selector to find the ideal machine to meet your requirements. Just answer a few quick questions: https://goo.gl/HxwXnq

Here are some examples of why it’s important to destroy sensitive documents and what to prioritise for shredding at home and at work.

Preventing identity fraud

fraud-week-blog-image

 

This week (13th – 19th November) marks International Fraud Awareness Week. It’s a great opportunity for both individuals and large organisations to join together to tackle the issue, as it’s increasingly becoming a bigger problem for homes and workplaces. Fraud takes many different forms, affecting all types of people. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (AFCE) 2016 Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse, organisations worldwide lose an estimated 5% of annual revenue to cases of fraud.

To help tackle these issues, we’ve explored three key areas that may expose you to fraudsters and offered some tips on how to prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

Password protection

Figures from an Ofcom report published in 2015 showed that 51% of UK Internet users use the same password for most of their online accounts. Often, one easy to remember code across all online accounts is favourable to creating secure passwords for each account, which can be seen as difficult to remember. These passwords can contain information including names of family members or pets, together with the user’s birthday. These are relatively easy to hack for a fraudster so should avoid being used.

Using secure passwords is a straightforward way to help prevent identity fraud. Combinations of upper and lowercase letters with numbers are a good way to create something that’s memorable for the user and difficult for a fraudster to guess. But make sure you commit your passwords to memory instead of writing them down, so that there is no chance of anyone discovering them.

Keeping documents secure 

The easiest method of securely destroying sensitive documents is to shred them. But what is a sensitive document? Anything printed on paper that contains your personal details – bank account information, credit and debit card account numbers, direct debit or standing order information, all types of passwords, addresses and anything labelled confidential.

So how can this kind of information be securely shredded, to prevent it falling into the wrong hands? Shredding documents containing personal or confidential data is crucial. Be aware that there are different levels of protection provided by different shredders. Shredders are rated against internationally recognised protection levels. These are known as P ratings and relate to the number of pieces an A4 sheet is shred into. P-7 shredders can shred a single A4 sheet into 12,600 pieces. Our shredder selector helps you select the right shredder for your security requirements.

Surfing the web safely

We use the Internet on a daily basis, everything from keeping up to date with social media and managing email to online banking and personal shopping. So it’s essential to ensure we browse these sites safely, to avoid accounts being hacked. Using secure websites is imperative to avoid online fraud. Ofcom figures show that 55% of Internet users in the UK check for the padlock symbol before entering their personal details – it’s really important to perform this check, otherwise you are opening yourself up to be hacked.

Taking action

Rexel is here to help you take action and prevent identity theft for Fraud Awareness Week. Take a look at our solutions centre for more advice on how to protect your identity and personal data at home and in the workplace: https://uk.rexeleurope.com/pages/protection-and-productivity-tips.

To get the latest updates on Auto Feed shredders and advice on prevent identity fraud, you can also follow us on Twitter @rexeleurope and LinkedIn Rexel Europe

 

Keeping your identity safe in the office

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Identity crime is becoming increasingly common with criminals gaining access to sensitive information both on and offline. By cloning your identity through stolen personal information and subsequently opening new bank accounts, taking out loans, tampering with documents, or purchasing items on your behalf, cyber criminals can rack up extensive bills and damage your personal and professional reputation.

According to Fraud Prevention Service, Cifas, 41% of all fraud is identity fraud, which is continuing to rise.

Not only can identity fraud have harsh consequences on your personal life, it can also affect your professional life if it occurs within the workplace. A survey conducted by PwC documented that 48% of respondents reported to having being a victim of fraud in the workplace. Directly costing organisations £1.75 billion, it can also cause loss of management time and further consequences down the line.

Occurring in online and offline environments, the different types of fraud are extensive and include IT fraud, petty fraud and manipulation of accounts, to name a few. Opportunity, pressure and rationalism are all triggers for fraudulent activity according to the Chartered Management Institute.

What guidelines apply when dealing with sensitive information?

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, companies are legally bound to ensure that any personal data, whether this is on its employees or customers, is correctly disposed of when no longer required. In cases of security, the seventh data protection principle states that: “Appropriate technical and organisational measures shall be taken against unauthorised or unlawful processing of personal data and against accidental loss or destruction of, or damage to, personal data.”

In a survey commissioned by HM Government, it was found that 39% of organisations, despite being a victim of an incident, have not changed their investment in cyber security.

What types of sensitive information should be destroyed?

Highly sensitive information and documentation should be shredded in the workplace to help prevent identity fraud and security breaches. Materials such as invoices, business cards, reports, receipts, marketing plans, employee records and many more should all be destroyed once they are no longer needed, otherwise organisations face a potential fine of up to £500,000, issued by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Micro shredding ensures that standard size A4 documents are shredded into 2,000 pieces making it impossible to retrieve any information – providing high security to all.

Improving your workplace

Prevention against identity crime is best once fully understood by those who are most vulnerable. There are a number of ways to help prevent the act of identity fraud with shredding being one of them. Auto Feed shredding is an effective method in preventing fraudulent activity. It’s there to protect your business and employees from identity fraud, avoiding fines and potential legal action. Not only do Auto Feed shredders save time with an automated feeding element, they also save money by allowing employees to focus on other jobs at the same time.

For more information, visit: http://www.rexeleurope.com/en/gb/home#.VhPXUenI47c

Sources:

https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/principle-7-security/

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/contents

http://www.shredding.info/resources/what-should-you-shred.aspx

http://www.wbcoft.org.uk/Attachments/Articles/Employment/Workplace%20Fraud.pdf

http://www.pwc.co.uk/assets/pdf/2015-isbs-technical-report-blue-03.pdf

https://www.cifas.org.uk/identity_fraud

http://www.techworld.com/news/security/uk-identity-theft-affected-125000-people-last-year-says-cifas-3605383/

https://www.gov.uk/data-protection/the-data-protection-act