Consumers leaving their guard down on card fraud and ID theft

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The Independent Online

Britons are not being careful enough with the security of their debit and credit cards, Which? has reported.

The consumer group asked 4,000 of its members a series of questions about how they protect their cards. Around half said that – contrary to advice from banks – they used just one PIN number for all their plastic.

A similar number aren't taking online security seriously enough. For example, they fail to check whether a website is secure – usually delineated by a lock symbol in the bottom right of a site's homepage – before buying items.

Another security failing that came to light is the habit among more than half of those surveyed of using their mother's maiden name as a bank security password. Such personal data is in the public domain and relatively easy for fraudsters to get their hands on.

Which? said consumers should do more to fight fraud and identity theft – crimes that are thought to cost the economy hundreds of millions a year.

"There's a lot more people can do to prevent fraud," said Martyn Hocking of Which?. "Shredding documents and checking your bank statements are a good start, but people need to be wise to basic risks such as using their mother's maiden name as a password, or shopping on websites that aren't secure."

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