75% don’t shred sensitive information – risk identity theft

Australians are placing themselves at risk of identity theft, with a recent Newspoll survey finding 75 percent of Australians regularly throw away highly sensitive information such as utility bills, bank statements, expired credit cards and application forms, without shredding or disposing of them safely.

According to the survey, 85 percent of Australians are concerned about identity fraud but continually put themselves at enormous risk, costing the Australian economy $1 billion annually. It is no wonder 43 percent of all respondents surveyed believe it is likely they will become the victim of identity theft.

The findings coincide with the launch of National Identity Fraud Awareness Week (NIDFAW) which runs until Friday 15th October and aims to raise awareness of identity fraud. NIDFAW spokesperson and Fellowes Australia Marketing Manager Peter Campbell, said that whilst identity fraud is growing, many businesses aren’t aware of the precautions that need to be taken.

“83 percent of Australians believe that the level of identity theft has increased over the last 5 years, so we are urging the public to be more vigilant about destroying personal documents prior to throwing them in the bin,” Mr. Campbell said.

“Consumers and business continue to leave highly confidential documents in easily accessible and unsecure places, such as rubbish or disposal bins and letterboxes. These documents that contain information such as bank/credit card details, addresses and tax file numbers provide fraudsters with a wealth of information. Potentially, all it could take is a combination of a few carelessly discarded pieces of information such as name, date of birth and bank account details for the fraudsters to have the information they need to attempt to commit identity fraud.” he said.

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