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Millions at risk of workplace ID theft

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08/04/2008

Research conducted by Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance has revealed workers are risking identity theft by being careless with their personal information in the office.

The Sheilas’ Wheels Office Trust survey highlights that 83% of office workers say that they completely trust the people they work with and one in five believe that their colleagues know as much about them as their closest friends.

But with the cost of identity theft in the UK now over £1.7bn per year, the insurance provider says it’s important for everyone to take steps to protect their personal information at all times – around strangers and people they know – to give no-one the oppportunity to steal their identity.

The office came top of the list of places where Brits feel most comfortable giving personal details over the phone, only seconded by the home. According to the survey, two-thirds of office workers admitted to making private phone calls at their desks and openly disclosing personal information. One in five have regularly overheard colleagues giving answers to common security questions, such as mother’s maiden name, place of birth, and stating their debit/credit card security codes.

The most common personal calls made at the office that often require the disclosure of extensive personal information are booking a doctor’s appointment, paying bills such as credit cards and utility bills, bank account enquiries, renewing insurance policies, shopping and booking flights and holidays.

Jacky Brown, spokesperson at Sheilas’ Wheels home insurance, said: “Longer working hours, the rise in the dual income family and increasingly hectic lives are causing many Brits to manage their personal and household finances in the office rather than at home.

“But with such a lack of privacy in open plan workplaces, it’s crucial to protect your personal information at all times – not just from strangers but also people you may have known for some time. Remove the temptation from fellow workers by keeping private phone calls, paperwork and finances just that – private.”

 

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