Preventing identity fraud



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:

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