Britons are fighting back

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The Independent Online

People are taking care to protect their details in response to the threat of identity theft, a survey for the Government's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has found.

The ICO polled 1,000 people to determine their attitude to data protection and how much confidence they had in government bodies' and financial institutions' handling of their details.

In total, 88 per cent said that they had started to check bank statements more regularly for signs of fraud and a similar number were careful not to give out personal details to cold callers.

The survey was conducted after the high-profile loss by HM Revenue & Customs of two disks containing the entire child benefit database. The disks held the personal details of 25 million people, including their bank account and national insurance numbers – all that is needed for a fraudster to steal their identity.

Around the same, time, a host of smaller-scale data losses in the private and public sector came to light. No surprise, therefore, that just over half those quizzed by the ICO said that they had no confidence in the way government or financial institutions dealt with personal data.

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