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Brits inadvertently aiding fraudsters

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Consumers may be inadvertently helping fraudsters by failing to handle personal information sensitively, despite widespread fears of falling victim to con artists and scams.

A study conducted by credit reporting service Noddle found that 93 per cent of people have concerns about the safety of their personal information but many unintentionally aid fraudsters by failing to protect themselves.

For instance, 53 per cent admitted to throwing away letters containing sensitive personal information without shredding them first; 23 per cent have loaned their credit card to someone else; 22 per cent have uttered their PIN over the phone; and 16 per cent keep their PIN written down in the same place as their card.

When asked what worried them most about the prospect of personal details falling into the wrong hands, 38 per cent said their details being used to apply for financial products such as loans; 25 per cent said having their money stolen online; and 20 per cent said having their personal details used to buy retail items.

The study also highlighted that the majority of consumers are only familiar with three types of fraud: identity theft, benefits fraud and phishing fraud. Other common frauds, including the ‘Lebanese Loop’ (a type of ATM fraud) and ‘419’ scams (where individuals are promised a significant sum of money for a small upfront payment) were familiar to just 5 per cent of consumers.

“Our research has shown 38 per cent have been a victim of fraud themselves, the majority of whom have been victims of either credit or debit card fraud, bank fraud or ID theft,” said John Cannon, fraud & ID director at Noddle.

“The general public are often unsure about what they should be doing to protect themselves or how they are inadvertently putting themselves at risk. We believe that starts with helping people be better informed so they can better protect themselves.

“This is an issue impacting millions of people yet often, the first people hear of their identity having been stolen is when money is taken out of their bank account. One of the easiest and quickest ways to spot potential security breaches early is to regularly check your credit report, which can reveal activity that hasn’t been instigated by you.”

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