How to avoid identity fraud

This winter the National Identity Fraud Prevention 2015 Campaign is back with a new fresh look for the 10th anniversary! Here at Irongate we have teamed up with Fellowes, creators of the World’s Toughest Shredders, with the aim to raise awareness around the growing crime of identity fraud and the risks to you both at home and in the workplace.

Fellowes Shredders avaialble from Irongate GroupIdentity fraud is a risk to all of us, simply because we deal with so many pieces of information on a daily basis. To criminals, a discarded bank statement or photocopy of a passport could be enough to allow them to start building up a picture of you, your customers or your business and eventually can lead to them stealing this identity they have recreated. All it takes is one mistake. A single act of complacency can result in endless explanations that it wasn’t you.


Despite increasing awareness of the threat of identity fraud, data breaches are still a frequent occurrence. Shredding all confidential paper waste is strongly advised to ensure sensitive documents don’t fall into the wrong hands; to protect identities and safeguard reputation.

Why should you be shredding?

Research has shown that employees are not taking care of company information in a safe way and leaving confidential data about themselves, clients and their businesses in plain view. With more than half (52%*) of UK employees failing to take basic precautions such as consistently shredding paper documents with private or personal information before discarding, shredding needs to become embedded within company culture.

The question is…can you afford to ignore the facts about identity fraud?

  • 51%** of SMEs say they either don’t have or are unsure of the presence of a comprehensive company policy to protect people’s identities
  • 54%** of people are now worried about personal information being stolen from a company.
  • Half** of employees believe that sensitive information could be obtained from company comput
  • 42%** of British workers believe employee or customer identities could be obtained from company


Better shredding practice would not only better security but also improve productivity in the workplace too. Research showed that a third of employees think troublesome and faulty equipment takes time out of their working day and impacts their productivity. Whilst 61%** stated their computers had been updated in the last two years, shredders are not.  When asked what would help most to improve productivity, 18%* requested for more automated equipment and technology, offering faster speed and reliability.

With this in mind, here are some top tips from Fellowes, for you and your business to shred, and shred properly.

Precautions for businesses:

Know the risks: make sure all employees know the risks of paper based identity fraud by holding meetings and disseminating information.

Decide what is unsafe: companies should make a list of which documents need to be shredded. Don’t leave it to chance and intuition. If it’s a sensitive document, remember it’s not safe until it’s shredded!

Don’t let it pile up: shred as you go so it becomes a daily or weekly habit. Not only will this save you time in the long run and help you to work more efficiently but you’ll be protecting yourself, colleagues, company and clients.

Maintain productivity: Avoid disruption and maximise productivity by using the latest generation of ‘smart’ technologies – a true time-saving solution.

Register with Companies House: make sure you sign-up to their Electronic Filing, Proof & Monitor services which help to prevent fraudsters changing the names of your directors and effectively ‘hijacking’ your company.

Choose a shredder that is best suited to your needs: remember security is paramount. Businesses need to determine what level of security they need, depending on what documents need destroying.

  • A strip-cut shredder will provide basic security. With this type of shredder, it would be pretty easy for someone to piece together the original document.
  • With cross-cut shredders, paper becomes extremely difficult to assemble and read. An A4 sheet of paper will be shredded into approximately 300 particles, significantly increasing the security stakes.
  • If you are shredding highly confidential documents and you need an even higher level of security, then you should consider a micro-cut shredder. Shredding an A4 sheet of paper with a micro-cut shredder will result in more than 3,700 particles. You can discover the full range of Fellowes Shredders by contacting Irongate on 01332 614602 or emailing
  • For more information on how to KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL, visit


*The research was commissioned by office specialists, Fellowes and conducted by One Poll in August 2013. For this report, qualitative research was carried out among 2000 employed UK adults.

**Fellowes Dynamic Markets commissioned research 2012

***Results are based on 661 surveys completed by full-time office employees on behalf of the Fellowes Brands between October 15 and 21, 2014 by Versta Research, Inc. Respondents were drawn from a national research panel and completed the survey online. Assuming no sample bias, the maximum margin of sampling error is +/- 4%.


This post was written by