Councils urged to help in fight against ID thieves

Credit report service MyCallcredit is urging local councils to make it easier for environmentally conscientious people to protect their IDs by accepting shredded personal documents for recycling.

To meet European guidelines 25 per cent of household waste should be recycled by March next year. But one in three (29% (1)) English councils will not accept shredded documents for recycling and just over one in ten (13% (1)) insist it is separated from non-shredded paper.

MyCallcredit director Alison Nicholson says:

"The risk of ID theft is greatly increased if people throw away personal documents without shredding them, but many councils are creating a dilemma for people who want to recycle because they won't accept shredded documents.

"Even a simple electricity bill provides ID fraudsters with enough information to steal an ID. One of the worst things about having your ID stolen is it can take months to discover you've become a victim, by which time the financial implications can cause you problems."

"A good place to start in the fight against ID thieves is checking your credit file regularly and signing up to an alert service which informs people you of any changes to your credit file. MyCallcredit is offering people who log on to www.myfreecreditreport.co.uk the opportunity to trial such a service free for a month

Why household rubbish is risky?
  • 75 per cent of local authorities in the UK admit that bin-raiding (where fraudsters search through rubbish to gain personal information to use fraudulently) occurs in their area. (2)
  • 86 per cent of household rubbish contains information which would be useful to fraudsters. (3)
  • 20 per cent of bins contain a full name and address together with a bank sort code and account number. (4)
How to protect yourself from ID thieves
  • Check your credit rile regularly and sign up for an E-alert monitoring service.
  • Cancel any unused credit facilities
  • Shred personal documents before throwing them away.
  • When you cut up a card or stop using it inform the lender you no longer want that facility.
Editors Notes
  1. Out of 96 English councils 29 per cent said they don't collect shredded paper for recycling and 13 per cent said it needed to be separated from other paper waste according to MyEquifax 12.07.05.
  2. 75 per cent of UK local authorities admit bin-raiding regularly occurs in their area according to Crime Reduction Team Royal Military Police 2003.
  3. Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police analysed the contents of hundreds of bins and discovered 86 per cent included information that would be useful to fraudsters according to the Royal Military Police.
  4. 20 per cent of the bins checked by Nottingham City Council contained a name, address, bank sort code and account number.