Businesses should be forced to warn their clients if their personal data is at risk from theft, according to the National Consumer Council (NCC).

The organisation is calling for a strengthening of current data protection laws to halt the rise in identity fraud, which now affects 100,000 British citizens every year.

Currently UK laws do not require businesses to tell their customers when a database has been accessed illegally or computer records have been lost or stolen.

But the NNC argues that if people were informed when a security lapse took place they would be able to take preventative action to stop their identity being stolen.

Claire Whyley, deputy director of policy at the NCC, told the BBC: “At the moment there’s no duty on organisations to inform their consumers or anybody else of security breaches.

“There’s a huge disincentive for companies to voluntarily provide information about security breaches because it’s not going to look good to consumers and they may lose custom as a result of it. So we really do need a duty in place to compel them to do that.”

The National Consumer Council claims identify fraud costs the UK economy around £1.7 billion every year.ADNFCR-8000151-ID-17573915-ADNFCR

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