Most of us have a selection of pin numbers and passwords that we use to keep an ever-increasing number of phones and computers, bank accounts and credit cards safe from unauthorised access. Strange then that according to research from Churchill Home insurance, many of us keep copies of the actual passwords and pin codes in the most unsafe locations.
The most common ‘hiding place’ for valuable documents in the UK is in underwear and sock drawers, with more than six million of us hiding our mortgage documents or bank details here. Other popular hiding places include food containers, such as butter containers and freezer food boxes, and books.
Churchill interviewed a number of convicted burglars and these interviews suggested that burglars will take time out during a robbery to look out for bank pin numbers in a property with one admitting that “I do look for bankcards and pin numbers for bank cards…you can take them straight to the cashpoint”. They also admitted that if they found pin codes they would “go shopping with them”.
The interviews also highlighted the fact 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.” This is worrying given that as part of the survey more than two million people admitted that they keep passports in visible locations around their home.
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.