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National Identity Fraud Prevention Week PR campaign

National Identity Fraud Prevention Week PR campaign

Best practice from Fleishman-Hillard on behalf of Fellowes.

Having previously coordinated successful National Identity Fraud Prevention Weeks (NIDFPW) in several markets globally, Fleishman-Hillard, on behalf of Fellowes, decided 2007 was the year to make this a European-wide awareness drive.

Bringing together a plethora of public and private sector partners, NIDFPW 07 has increased identity fraud vigilance and prevention across the European region – and, against the odds, the Fleishman-Hillard team once again exceeded its clients expectations.


NIDFPW is a week-long awareness campaign, supported by a selection of public and privates sector partners and coordinated by Fleishman-Hillard, on behalf of Fellowes.

The campaign aims to increase awareness of the risks and causes of identity fraud, and to educate consumers and businesses as to the simple steps they can take to protect themselves.

- Shredders aren’t sexy – consumers and businesses will only commit to a purchase if they believe the threat of identity fraud to be real 

- In the UK, identity fraud is a regular media topic, meaning that the team needed to ensure that this year’s campaign – Fellowes third – was original and eye-catching, in order to be effective

- In contrast, identity fraud is not considered high-risk in Poland or the Netherlands, meaning that the team needed to takes measures to prove the campaign’s validity 

- The campaign needed to deliver results over and above those achieved by previous campaigns

Research and Planning

Various research projects were conducted across Europe to demonstrate the urgency of the issue:

- Bin-raiding: in the UK, WastesWork was commissioned to search residential rubbish deposits in four cities (London, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham), showing how easy it is for fraudsters to obtain personal information, and illustrating irresponsible behaviours across the entire country. 

- Sociology study:  in Poland, a team of sociologists from the University of Wroclaw searched community refuse sites across Warsaw.  Their findings showed a terrifying level of negligence regarding the protection of personal data.  

- Populus Poll: an opinion poll, surveying UK consumers’ attitudes to identity  fraud, and revealing the sad truth that it’s an issue we all live in fear of – yet are seemingly neglecting to take the steps we know can keep it at bay.

- Business bin-raiding: in the Netherlands, SBV Forensics and Van Gansewinkel were commissioned to search through 250 small and medium-sized businesses’ rubbish, to uncover the ways in which their employees were dealing with private and confidential information concerning the company, its employees and its clients.

Additionally, the following measures ensured that each campaign stood out in its market:

- Partners – third-party support is vital to the campaign’s success, and this year Fleishman-Hillard secured and coordinated the support of more partners than ever before, including:

- In the UK: the Metropolitan Police, the Identity and Passport Service, Royal Mail, CIFAS – The UK’s Fraud Prevention Service, Fellowes, Callcredit, Equifax, Experian, HM Revenue and Customs, the Federation of Small Businesses, The Home Office, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the DVLA, The City of London Police, the BBA, the FSA, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), regional police forces and politicians from across the political divide

- In the Netherlands: the Chamber of Commerce, the national police force, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Dutch Data Protection Authority

- In Poland: the General Inspectorate for the Protection of Personal Data, national police forces, the University of Wroclaw and CERT/NASK Poland (CERT is the Computer Emergency Response Team, which works to reduce online security risks; NASK, the founder of CERT, is a Polish research and development organisation and data networks operator and a member of the UN’s International Telecommunications Union). 

- Case studies – Fleishman-Hillard worked throughout the year to build a comprehensive database of ID fraud victims, who were willing to act as case studies and speak to the media about their experiences, humanising the issue

- Viral outreach – bringing an entirely new dimension to this year’s campaign, Fleishman-Hillard Digital developed a humorous 1950s infomercial-style video (“use your head… Shred!”), which was distributed virally throughout the online world, bringing the NIDFPW message to a new, mainstream audience globally.

NIDFPW is relevant to every member of society, throughout their personal and working lives.  As always, our client’s over-riding objective was to increase shredder sales, but the campaign team needed to communicate a relevant, compelling and persuasive message in order to achieve this. 


NIDFPW 2007 kicked off with a flurry of activity across all three countries.  In Poland, Michal Serzycki, Polish General Inspector of Data Protection used the campaign’s opening press conference to announce the news that Poland’s Bill of Data Protection is to be amended.

In the UK, exclusive stories were placed in the Mail on Sunday and the Independent on Sunday, and GMTV,  the UK’s number one breakfast television programme, lead with NIDFPW as its headline topic on Monday morning.

In Amsterdam, a round table meeting was held in the international press centre in The Hague, hosting an expert panel comprising Professor Martin Gill, the national  coordinator for Fraud prevention, the Director of Meld Misdaad Anoniem (Crime Stoppers), a spokesperson from SBV Forensics and the director of the Advertising Fraud Support Centre.

Journalists from national newspapers, business titles and trade magazines were all present in the audience, along with guests from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce, the Police, the NAID, Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Dutch Association of Insurers and the Dutch Data Protection Authority. 

Fleishman-Hillard managed a central press office which contacted media to sell in the current research findings in advance of the week.

The team secured interviews and briefings for spokespeople from various partner organisations to ensure that the story ran, with campaign comment, simultaneously on Monday’s morning news programmes. Case studies and expert comment supported the identity fraud story.

The team also coordinated the distribution of various partner announcements throughout the week relating to a variety of topics, including online identity fraud (and Facebook).

In support of the campaign, direct marketing materials were created and distributed through partners. These included a substantial guide to protecting your identity, that was made available via the consumer facing website,


-  Sales of shredders increased by 160% in the UK, 122% in the Netherlands, and 66.4% in Poland!

- Blanket coverage was achieved across tier one business and consumer print, broadcast and online media in all three countries

- The foundations have been laid for political action in each country:

- In Poland, National Identity Fraud Prevention Week has instigated talks which it is hoped will lead to a change in the law, and an increase of the minimum jail sentences for identity fraudsters

- In the Netherlands, Government and business leaders are actively discussing ways in which identity fraud can be tackled

- In the UK, the campaign ended with Gordon Brown exclaiming that the Government must act to protect its citizens from identity fraud

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