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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 00:38 GMT
Londoners 'fear identity theft'
Credit cards
Identity thieves raid bins to personal information
Almost 80% of Londoners fear they will be a victim of identity theft, according to a survey.

It has prompted Brent East MP Sarah Teather to urge the government to issue clear guidelines to help protect the public and businesses.

She called for details to be issued about the most effective ways to destroy personal information.

"Urgent action is needed to educate Londoners on the simple steps they can take to protect themselves," she said.

"London suffers particularly badly from organised gangs raiding bins in a bid to steal people's identities."

Raiding bins

She said she had serious concerns that many people still threw away bank statements, credit card or utility bills with their details intact.

"It is only by educating Londoners that we will begin to make identity theft more difficult for criminals," she added.

A group of MPs from across the UK are due to sign a motion in parliament on Monday calling for the guidelines to be issued.

The poll, carried out for shredder manufacturers Fellowes, showed 86% of Londoners thought clear guidelines should be issued about the effective ways to destroy information containing personal details.

Identity thieves use a host of methods, including raiding bins, to find whole, or partially destroyed, papers containing personal information.

Using just one piece of information, such as a birth date or licence number, a persona can be illegally constructed.

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