Planning details are fraudster's dream.
The UK's fraud prevention service CIFAS warned that local planning authorities were scanning and posting all planning applications on to their websites, including people's names, addresses, telephone numbers and even their signatures.
The group said this was putting people at risk of being victims of identity theft, under which criminals use personal details to apply for credit in their victim's name.
CIFAS said having drawn the problem to the attention of Government and local authority associations, it had been assured the issue would be addressed.
It said people would be made aware that their applications would be published online and told to only submit personal information that they are happy to have on the internet. Signatures will also no longer be published.
Peter Hurst, chief executive of CIFAS, said, 'Last year there were 137,000 cases of identity fraud in the UK, up from just 20,000 in 1999. In the first quarter of 2006, the figures rose by another 17%.
'Local authorities have a role to play in combating this crime by striking the right balance between publishing details as part of public consultation processes and ensuring the security of the personal details entrusted to them.'
He added that the publication of signatures in combination with other personal details was 'Christmas come early' for identity fraudsters.
Meanwhile a credit monitoring service warned people who own buy-to-let properties that they are one of the groups that are most at risk from identity theft.
Just under half of all victims of identity fraud who know the person who stole their identity are landlords, according to CreditExpert.co.uk.
The group said the risk was exacerbated for landlords who were renting out a property in which they had previously lived themselves.
It said in some cases fraudulent tenants used their landlord's name and the address of the rented property to apply for credit cards or loans. Tenants have also intercepted mail addressed to their landlord and used the personal details in it to build up enough information on them to open accounts in their name.
Jim Hodgkins, of CreditExpert.co.uk, said,
'When considering this type of investment, people should be wary of the possibility of dishonest tenants taking advantage of your good credit score and credit report to incur debts in your name.'