Did you know that each year between 750,000 to 900,000 Australians fall victim to identity crime resulting in financial loss?
Well that’s what a government report on identity security suggests.
And in 2011-12 more Australians reported being a victim of identity crime than victims of robbery, motor vehicle theft, household break-ins or assault.
Apparently identity crime has become one of the most common, costly and disturbing crimes in Australia with a total economic impact to the economy estimated at more than $1.6 billion each year.
And the use of fraudulent identities continues to be a key enabler of serious, organised crime and terrorism.
- The majority of identity crime is classified as credit card fraud and most victims lose less than $1,000.
- The total value of credit card fraud was being driven upwards by card-not-present fraud where a transaction is made using only the credit card details and not the physical card.
In 2005-06 there were more than $13 million worth of these frauds, but in 2012-13 that had reached more than $82 million.
- About 1 in 10 identity crime victims experiences mental or physical health issues requiring treatment and around one in 17 is wrongly accused of a crime.
- Intelligence from the Australian Federal Police and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade indicate that fraudulent identity documents can be purchased on the black market for as little as $80 for a Medicare card, a few hundred dollars for a birth certificate or drivers licence and as much as $30,000 for a “genuinely” issued passport with fraudulent details.
- Of the 40,000 fraud offences proven each year in Australia, around 15,000 were enabled through the use of stolen or fabricated identities.
There are also about 7,000 core identity crime offences proven each year, including activities such as manufacturing fraudulent credentials and false representations.
Now there’s nothing really new about this
I clearly remember Rolf Schaefer, who has now retired but in the past was my business partner in Metropole Finance, for many years warning attendees at our seminars of the increasing prevalence of identity theft.
Even scarier was his thoughts that it was often someone in your family that was the most likely culprit as they had easy access to your credit cards, drivers license etc which gave them the ability to wrack up the required number of points to “steal” your identity.