Bradford Council is encouraging individuals to persist in their recycling efforts while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of securely disposing of items containing personal information.

Identity theft has emerged as one of the fastest-growing forms of fraud in the initial half of 2023, with a substantial portion attributed to online scammers. However, instances of identity theft extend beyond digital means.

In the realm of non-digital opportunistic fraud, a perpetrator could easily extract all necessary information from the contents of a recycling bin. Whether it be letters, packaging, or other materials associated with medicines, bank communications, receipts, or parcels, the mere presence of a person’s name, address, or date of birth provides ample fodder for constructing a false identity and gaining unauthorized access to an individual’s financial resources.

Bradford Council officials have received accounts from residents detailing such incidents, including reports of individuals attempting to intercept mail or rummaging through recycling bins.

The most effective preventive measure against such occurrences is to obliterate any items displaying personal details. Names, addresses, and dates of birth should be either torn up or shredded before disposing of items in recycling bins.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Portfolio Holder for Healthy People and Places, said: “We want people to continue to recycle, but please can everyone check items before they place them in their bins. Destroy anything containing personal details. Don’t leave anything to chance. We want our residents to stay safe and protect themselves from criminals.”