Employers can help prevent identity theft, claims Slingsby

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Workplace equipment provider Slingsby claims businesses have more responsibility than ever before to protect their employees’ personal details as cases of identity theft continue to rise and fraudsters go to extreme lengths to find victims.

A recent study from the National Fraud Authority and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau puts the annual cost of identity fraud at over £2.7bn with more than 1.8m people affected by identity fraud every year, it says.

Lee Wright, marketing director of Slingsby, said: “Nearly all workplaces hold detailed information about employees including address, date of birth and bank details. All this would be valuable to a fraudster but yet it’s surprising how many workplaces have a lax attitude towards the confidentiality of this information.

“The safest approach for most workplaces is to minimise the information they hold about employees because in most cases they don’t need as much as they ask for. Employers should also bear in mind that when they ask for data, employees have a legal right to know how it will be used.”

Slingsby has compiled a check list of procedures all workplaces should follow in order to protect their employee’s personal details:

• Always shred or properly dispose of sensitive material

• Control access to personal information and limit it to those employees who have a legitimate reason to use i

• Conduct background checks on anyone that has access to sensitive information. This should also include cleaning staff and temporary personnel

• Introduce guidelines to control how personal and sensitive information is handled

• Don’t make National Insurance numbers public and avoid using them on items such as security passes and time cards

• Secure employee’s personal information in a locked filing cabinet or other secure area and make sure sensitive files stored on computers are password protected and encrypted