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Data Protection/Privacy Day on Monday

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

January 28 is Data Protection Day in Europe and Data Privacy Day in US/Canada. The basic purpose is the same: to highlight personal privacy issues and reduce identity theft.

To get some idea of the problem, I visited the UK’s Stop-IDfraud website – a site supported by Fellowes, CIFAS, Norton, Equifax, Get Safe Online and Action Fraud. Heavyweight stuff.

It says,

New research shows that 24% of UK citizens have been a victim of identity fraud, which is the highest figure in Europe, plus a further 75% have been exposed to scams used by identity fraudsters.
Consumer Facts

How I hate this sort of stuff.

New. When exactly?

Research. By whom, and how was it done?

24% of UK citizens. So is that all residents, all residents with a UK passport, all residents with a UK passport over a certain age?

There is no clue to any of this – not even a date for when the details were published on the site.

So my first thought is that these figures cannot be trusted. They could have been made up on the spot. But let’s look at that 24%.

Glance up and down your street. You’re likely to have 100 UK residents living within a stones-throw. Scary to think that 24 of those neighbours have been a victim of ID fraud. OK, so neighbours these days tend not to talk to each other. So think of your immediate family and friends – again you’ll rapidly approach 100. Have anything like 24 of them indicated that they are victims of ID fraud, with two-thirds of them losing more than £1000, and have warned you to be careful? I’m here to be shot down, but I very much doubt it.

Now the second statistic. 75% have been exposed to scams used by identity fraudsters. Really? I get half a dozen or more spam scam phishing emails every day. I find it hard to believe that 25% of the population have never received a spam scam phishing email.

So, put simply, these unjustified and uncorroborated and unsupported figures make no sense to me whatsoever. Except they do sensationalize a very worrying fact: ID fraud is a serious problem. So serious that we really ought to support the government’s plans for the Communications Bill so that law enforcement can track and come down hard on all of these criminals that have defrauded so many of my friends and neighbours to such an extent that they won’t even tell me about it.

You couldn’t make it up. Except, maybe they did.

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