Thieves want your identity
UNSUSPECTING victims are under threat from rat-like thieves who sift through rubbish and steal their identities, the Evening Star can reveal today.Every week people throw away vital information that can be use by fraudsters looking to steal their identity.
UNSUSPECTING victims are under threat from rat-like thieves who sift through rubbish and steal their identities, the Evening Star can reveal today.
Every week people throw away vital information that can be use by fraudsters looking to steal their identity.
But the message is starting to get across – shredders were one of the top Christmas gifts according to stationery shops across the country.
We visited a household waste site in Ipswich and within minutes had found documents about a family in Coddenham.
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Thrown away were bank documents and a mortgage statement containing account numbers and details about the family's finance.
It could be used by a fraudster as proof of identity to obtain credit – or to withdraw money from the accounts.
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In another bag we found a telephone and electricity bill for someone who lives on an Ipswich estate – these are documents which are commonly demanded by banks or credit companies.
Mark Deer, from Suffolk County Council, said: "These documents are very valuable for criminals, and they will target bins to get this kind of information.
"There is security at waste sites like this – anyone who came up here and started doing what we are doing would be challenged.
"But pieces of paper like this could just blow away and could end up anywhere – it is very careless to throw them away like this," Mr Deer.
He said every family should buy a shredder and destroy any valuable documents before throwing them away.
"A hand shredder costs a tenner and an electric shredder costs about £20 – you can get them from any stationers."
The value of personal information was highlighted at a recent court case when it was revealed that fraudsters had produced a "price list" they would pay to low-grade criminals, often drugs users looking for the cost of their next fix.
This started at £10 for a utility bill and ranged up to £100 for enough information to allow a fraudster to clone credit cards.
Suffolk police press officer Anna Woolnough said: "Personal information can be of great value to criminals.
"Receipts, household accounts, bank statements - all contain elements of
personal information including names, addresses and account details,
which could be used by an offender to gather personal information about
a potential victim.
"Personal documents should be managed with great care to ensure that
they do not fall into the hands of an offender.
"It is very important therefore that all documents containing any information about personal or financial matters, be properly destroyed rather than disposed of in household waste."
N Have you been a victim of identity fraudWhat do you think? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk