21st May 2015
A staggering two million UK adults keep written versions of their pin for banks, credit cards and building societies in plain sight around their house according to new research from Churchill Home Insurance.
The insurer is urging households to be more cautious as interviews with convicted burglars highlighted that they typically look out for bank pin numbers in a property.
In a series of in-depth interviews conducted on behalf of Churchill, one burglar claimed: “I do look for bankcards and pin numbers for bank cards…you can take them straight to the cashpoint”. They admitted too that if they found pin codes they would often go shopping with them.
The interviews also highlighted that criminals would steal documents such as passports and mortgage papers to sell; “We would look for paperwork and ID to sell on. You would look for paperwork for mortgage [sic] and passports and sell it on to those in the know.”
While almost a quarter at 23% of people who create a copy of a pin hide it in a secure location, such as a safe, some 13% will leave it somewhere unsecure in their house.
Some 10% even keep their pin in a wallet or purse. The most common ‘hiding place’ for valuable documents in the UK is in underwear and sock drawers, with more than six million people hiding their mortgage documents or bank details there.
However, interviews with criminals highlighted that even the fridge-freezer is not out of the question when it comes to ransacking a property.
Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance, said: “In an increasingly digital world it can be difficult to keep track of all of the pin numbers and passwords required to access our personal information. By creating physical copies of these details and leaving them in an accessible place, people are offering criminals instant access to highly sensitive information.
“It’s not just about TVs and laptops, burglars are now very astute when it comes to selling documents. To keep personal details safe, people should store the most valuable ones such as passports and mortgage documents in safes or at the bank.”
Top five ‘hiding places’ for valuable documents
|Hiding place||Number of UK adults|
|1||Underwear or sock drawers||6 million|
|2||Food container (such as cereal or in fridge-freezer)||2.8 million|
|5||Taped to the bottom of drawers||1.8 million|
Source: Churchill Home Insurance, 2015