News Archive

Throw-away ID

by msecadm4921

Is your company throwing away headed paper, a director’s signature, whole invoices, or bank account details, with no attempts at destruction?

Company ID fraud is growing in the UK. In some cases, fraudsters change the registered address and directors of a company by submitting false Companies House forms. In other cases they simply trade as the company they are impersonating from an alternative trading address. They also re-use genuine company logos and similar web site domain names to masquerade as a genuine well known business. The information and materials that companies are throwing away in their bins are rich pickings for crooks attempting to hi-jack companies identities. The research reveals that many businesses are in breach of their obligations under data protection rules by discarding personal information on clients, customers, staff and directors. For example: a film and theatrical agent discarded the names, addresses and mobile phone numbers of well known film and TV stars; a travel agent discarded photocopies of passports with passport numbers, dates of birth and photos of consumers; an educational establishment discarded full financial details of applicants to courses; an architect discarded detailed scaled plans of NHS hospitals and other public buildings; a surgery discarded full medical records of its patients; a barristers’ chambers discarded signed affidavits and witness statements; a PR agency discarded its clients’ confidential PR strategies, embargoed press releases and bank account information; a mortgage broker discarded numerous completed mortgage applications containing full financial details of its clients. We are very concerned that so many businesses are not destroying information that is clearly of use to fraudsters, blackmailers and even terrorists. We are especially concerned about the rise in company ID theft and the research indicates that many companies are disposing of information such as bank statements, documents containing directors’ signatures, unused letter headed paper, details of customers, details of suppliers and even corporate credit cards, which can all be used to commit company ID fraud. We know that organised criminal gangs are paying bin raiders £5 a document and we are very concerned that the proceeds of bin raiding and ID fraud could be fuelling other serious criminal activities such as drugs, prostitution and people trafficking.

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