Thursday, October 16, 2008

New protections against identity fraud needed - Clegg

People should have the right to ‘security freeze’ their credit records to stop bank accounts and new credit cards being fraudulently opened in their name, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg says.

On a visit to Cambridge University where he will meet credit card fraud expert Professor Ross Anderson, Nick Clegg will set out how giving individuals control over who can access their financial history would vastly reduce identity fraud.

The system, which is working successfully across the United States, would be a much more effective way of tackling identity theft than the hugely expensive and unworkable ID cards project.

Commenting, Nick Clegg said:

"People currently have no control over who accesses their credit history. Sloppy credit-granting practices have made life easy for identity thieves, who can get credit and open fake bank accounts in other people’s names.

"The Government’s preferred solution is ID cards. These are an intrusive, costly and ineffective way of attempting to curb identity fraud, with no guarantees that they will work.

"Giving people the right to ‘security freeze’ their credit records is both effective and inexpensive, and already working in the United States. Big financial companies and the State should answer to individuals, not the other way around.

"Ministers have this week announced plans for another huge Orwellian database logging emails, phone calls and websites visited. Rather than hoarding ever more information in Whitehall, they should be giving individuals extra rights to protect their information."
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