As more and more people fall victim to identity theft, it has emerged that one third of British consumers think that banks are not careful enough with their personal information.
Although the most notable leak of personal information in Britain resulted from the loss of CDs by the Child Benefit Agency some months back, Brits feel that banks and credit card companies need to take more responsibility when it comes to fraud and identity theft.
A recent survey by PPC revealed that more than a third said the greatest blame for fraud has to lie with banks, and nearly three quarters say it is the sole responsibility of banks or credit card issuers to resolve any problems that arise with their products.
Seven in 10 people believe that card issuers also have a responsibility to minimise the risk of card fraud and the same proportion of people would also expect to be fully compensated should any fraud occur.
The research conducted by CPP does also show that some of us are willing to take a limited amount of responsibility for instances of fraud.
For example, 74% say that individuals should acknowledge that they too are accountable for reducing the risk of identity theft and over half blame individuals for fraudulent activity because they don't keep their personal details safe.
In truth, one of the chief causes of identity theft is people not taking enough care with their personal information. Considering that one in five people still don't check their bank statements thoroughly it does appear that some of the blame may rest with us.
“The survey findings highlight the responsibility and blame issues surrounding identity theft and credit card fraud. There is a feeling that identity theft is out of our hand, but it is preventable if you are careful with your personal data and are willing to accept responsibility for looking after your details properly,” said Zoe Manton of CPP.
Despite all the warnings and campaigns to tighten consumer security, 55% of people still expect to have their identity stolen at some point. 35% also think there is a high chance their PIN could be compromised by a criminal, suggesting that many of us simply accept identity fraud as a fact of modern life.
However, this shouldn't be the case. Protecting our identities is not that difficult. A few simple precautions and a basic understanding of the information that criminals need to compromise our identities and borrow money in our name can ensure that you will be protected from the identity fraudsters. In fact, many banks and other lenders will be sympathetic and may even help you bear the cost of the fraud if you can show that you took reasonable precautions to protect your identity.
Alternatively, you could consider taking out identity fraud insurance. This will protect you against the cost of any money that criminals borrow in your name. There are a number of companies offering identity fraud insurance in Britain today.