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Datashred halts Jigsaw fraudsters - do you?

07 February 2012

A PHS Datashred data security expert is calling for more stringent standards when offices up and down the country undertake the annual clearout.

Traditionally over the Christmas period, it’s customary for businesses to sort through archiving, folders and files, throwing away unwanted documents accumulated over the year, but these annual clearouts can happen at any time of the year. Often this waste will include bank statements, clients’ details, emails and reports containing confidential information and will head straight to the office shredder.

However the thoroughness of this shredding method is now in question as increasingly so called ‘Jigsaw Fraudsters’ are reassembling badly shredded documents. The situation is set to escalate with news that a team of computer programmers from California have developed software they say shows that computers can, in theory, reconstruct shredded documents.

PHS Datashred commercial Director, Anthony Pearlgood;

“Every year offices go through their papers and bin unwanted material. These are often destroyed using an outdated and unreliable office shredder, which doesn’t offer the best level of security. Using this method can lead to a back log of unshredded material stored on site, and when it comes to disposal, as we’ve seen, even once shredded it can be a treasure trove for identity thieves. I’m calling for bosses to take a firm hand and put a stop to ID fraud by using a professional data destruction company. It’s time to shape up your security measures as fraudsters become more sophisticated.”

Every year an average office throws out:
  • 80.6 million tonnes of printing and writing paper which contributes to 24% of the total UK waste
  • 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink per year in the UK
  • 4.9 million tonnes of packaging
Each year, identity fraud in the UK costs more than £2.7 billion and affects over 1.8 million people, according to new figures from the National Fraud Authority (NFA). At least £1.9 billion of this is the amount gained by the fraudster. That means that on average, fraudsters gain over £1,000 from every stolen identity.

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