Businesses aren't trusted to handle customer data

hand out of computer

Almost all employees don't believe that the companies they work for completely protects the identities of their customers.

So claims independent research commissioned by Fellowes to support National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.

Some 97 per cent of British workers appeared justified in believing this, with only 64 per cent of businesses having clear policies on how to handle documents with sensitive information.

For instance, a third (32 per cent) of employees admitted to throwing sensitive documents directly into the bin.

More than half (64 per cent) believed that bins were a bigger risk in losing customer details than computer systems or ordinary theft, with nearly two in five employees having no access to shredders.

Information lost in this way could leave innocent customers open to threats such as banking fraud in the event of financial data being lost, while even a small amount of data left in the open could lead to social engineering attacks.

Nearly a quarter (71 per cent) of UK employees thought that their businesses needed to do more to make sure confidential documents were handled properly.

More research from the National Fraud Authority showed that 62 per cent of businesses were worried about financial loss in the event of a data breach, while 43 per cent worried about what it would do for their reputation.

"Identity crime and related fraud has a devastating impact on individuals, businesses and the UK economy," said Dr Bernard Herdan, chief executive of the National Fraud Authority in a statement.

He added: "In addition to this, the theft of an identity can underpin a range of other serious crimes. It can be used to conceal criminal identities so organised gangs can avoid detection. By protecting your own identity you not only avoid becoming a victim of ID fraud but also help stop the wider crime it enables."