As National Identity Fraud Prevention Week reaches it mid-point, a report has revealed that 64 per cent of people admit that they throw sensitive documents in the bin without shredding them.

Also, 12 per cent of people said they used the internet without having any security software in place. The research from National Identity Fraud Prevention Week and featured on the Metro website, showed that the threat of identity fraud is real and current, according to spokesman Tyron Hill.

Hill said: “People are either naive or they continue to ignore the advice that could keep their identity, their finances and their reputation safe.”

Jonny Wilkinson, security expert at Websense, said: “Twelve per cent is a worryingly large number of employees without adequate security software. It highlights a significant gulf between the protection in place and the protection needed in today's Web 2.0 enabled world.

"A company's workforce will regularly interact with a range of websites, social networks and other information-sharing programs. The exchange of data is constant and, especially in the current economic climate, data is power.”

However Phil D'Angio, director at VeriSign, commented that despite the low numbers, UK consumers are gaining knowledge of online threats. “As ID fraud continues to rise, consumers are increasingly aware of the fact that they could be a fraudster's next victim,” said D'Angio.

“Recent research commissioned by VeriSign found that 82 per cent of consumers are reluctant to shop from websites that do not display signs of enhanced security. It's no longer enough to offer behind-the-scenes protection for your online customers – they need to see a visible commitment to their safety when transacting online.

“Customers need recognisable signs which prove that if they buy from your website, you are taking every possible step to protect them against online crime. The proof is in the pudding – if they have any doubts over the security of a site, retailers risk losing their custom as they seek safer places to shop.”