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Identity theft costs Britain $3.06 bln per year
www.chinaview.cn 2006-02-02 19:38:18

    LONDON, Feb. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Britain loses some 1.7 billion pounds (3.06 billion US dollars) a year to identity theft, said a Home Office minister on Thursday.

    This results in an average loss of 35 pounds (about 63 dollars)per person, much more expensive than the national identity cards currently under government consideration, Andy Burnham, the Home Office minister, told BBC Radio.

    Britain has been considering national ID cards for a long time.However, the high cost of ID cards has been a controversial barrier in its introduction.

    However, Burnham said national ID cards could be "a major breakthrough" for ID protection, citing "fingerprint or eye scan"on the cards together with the owner's name, address and date of birth would give people "much greater control over the use of their identity" and prevent criminals registering multiple identities.

    Personal details stolen or illegally obtained were used by crooks to access bank accounts, bills, and create false documents to carry out benefit crimes, said a report released by Burnham earlier.

    The Cabinet Office recommended retailers and banks to carry outmore stringent checks of IDs, while appealing for improved detection and prosecution of ID crimes.

    Experts recommend that all documents containing personal information should be shredded and destroyed before being thrown out. People are also advised to exercise caution when doing online purchasing. Enditem

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