RESIDENTS of Balsall Common and anyone else who bought fuel at the petrol station in that village may be interested to learn that this week is the fourth annual National Identity Fraud Prevention Week.
This may come too late for many local people as the campaign aims to raise awareness of the issue of identity fraud, and encourage the public and businesses to do more to protect themselves from becoming the victims of identity thieves.
The week is being coordinated by a range of public and private partners including the BBC's Adrian Chiles (who is fronting this year's campaign) the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Metropolitan Police, the Home Office's Identity and Passport Service, Royal Mail, CIFAS - The UK's Fraud Prevention Service, Fellowes, CallCredit, Equifax, Experian, the Federation of Small Businesses, the British Retail Consortium, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and regional police forces.
Research shows that whilst awareness of identity fraud is growing, the vast majority of the public are still putting themselves at risk from identity fraudsters.
Government figures show that identity fraud costs the economy more than £1 billion annually - and independent pan-European market research reveals that Britain suffers one of the highest rates of identity fraud. The survey revealed that 4.3 million adults have already fallen victim.
Thanks to ongoing public awareness drives, such as National Identity Fraud Prevention Week, the UK boasts the highest awareness rates - 99 per cent of adults surveyed claimed to be aware of identity fraud and 95 per cent realise that we are all at risk.
However, 64 per cent of British adults do not understand how best they can protect themselves against identity fraud, indicating that yet more needs to be done to communicate best practice in the home and work environment and encourage the public to take this advice - protecting themselves and lessening the impact of identity fraud upon the economy.
I firmly support the work of all the partners who have come together to raise awareness of the very real problem of identify fraud both in my constituency and across the UK.
Along with MPs across the country and National Identity Fraud Prevention Week I want to encourage individuals and business to stop taking chances with their identity, and to start getting identity fraud wise. You wouldn't leave your car or house unlocked -in the same way we all have a responsibility to protect our personal details.