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7 Sep, 2012

Australia Identity Theft Survey Reveals Extent of Threat, Suggests Protective Measures


4 September 2012 (Australian Attorney-General’s Department, Minister for Emergency Management) – Almost 90 per cent of Australians surveyed are concerned about identity theft and 61 per cent think identity theft will increase over the next 12 months according to new research released today.

Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said that while Australians are concerned about identity theft, there is a lot that individuals can do to protect their own identity.

“While identity theft is understandably concerning, Australians can take some simple steps to protect their identity,” Ms Roxon said.

“Making sure you don’t respond to suspicious e-mail or store personal details on your mobile phone are two easy steps to prevent identity theft.”

Ms Roxon also spoke about what governments and business can do to combat identity theft, including the use of the Document Verification Service that is run by the Attorney-General’s Department.

“Identity security is a shared responsibility. Only when governments at all levels work together with industry and the community can we effectively tackle the insidious effects of identity misuse.

“The Document Verification Service is being used by government agencies to confirm details on key identity documents such as passports, driver licenses and birth certificates.

“The DVS helps to put out of business those who try and pedal fake identify documents.

“From next year, the financial and telecommunications sectors will be able to access the DVS to check Commonwealth identity documents, such as passports and visas – further helping the private sector to protect their customers’ identity.”

Identity crime is one of the top three enablers of serious and organised crime in Australia, and can have serious financial implications for business, governments and individuals.

The research released today was commissioned by the Attorney-General’s Department and repeats a similar survey conducted in July 2011. Key findings for this year’s survey include:

  • 89 per cent of respondents are concerned about identity theft and 61 per cent think identity theft will increase in the next year
  • 24 per cent of respondents had been, or knew someone who had been, a victim of identity crime in the last six months – an increase of seven per cent since 2011
  • When identify crime occurred, 58 per cent involved the internet, through either a virus or an online scam, 35 per cent involved the loss of a credit or debit card, 18 per cent involved mail theft and 9 per cent involved the theft or loss of physical identity documents such as a passport and drivers licence.

The results of this research will inform the review of the National Identity Security Strategy currently being undertaken by the Department in conjunction with the States and Territories.

For more information on the survey or protecting your identity visit www.ag.gov.au/Identitysecurity

Download Identity Theft Data Survey report 2012

Editor’s Note: The following extract from the Identity Theft Data Survey Report highlights the dangers and the importance of taking protective measures. This is going to become a huge problem in India as it expands its ID card system.

Q. And as far as you know, in which ways listed did that identity theft or misuse occur?

Verbatim Responses

“Using my credit card overseas but I still have my cards.”

“Card skimming.”

“Tried to access and withdraw monies from their bank account.”

“Used e-mail address to send 4500 e-mails.”

“Bank card skimmed.”

“Unlawful use of credit card through internet.”

“Money out of bank.”

“Uncle of friend used her account for his loan payment.” “ATM skimming.”

“Credit card details stolen online.”

“Someone went through the rubbish bin.”

“From a tap and go credit card”

“Intenet – they somehow got my credit card details & used it to purchase goods in another country.”

“Used credit card to buy air tickets.”

“Misuse of Credit Card.”

“Credit card scanned.”

“Credit card account.”


“Unauthorised credit card debits through online gaming site.”

“Credit card details stolen when a company had its database hacked.”

“Email account has been hacked and scam email was sent to me and demanding money.”

“ATM skim.”

“Tenants of a rental house stole the owners ID.”

“Found someone in a house damaged by fire I used to live and still had boxes stored with my birth certificate in their pocket when police were called with my birth certificate.”

“Credit card number obtained.”

“Some attempted use of credit card but the bank believes it was through a number generator not detail theft.”

“Use of credit card details.”

“Personal items stolen from a neighbours home.” “Through there account.”

“Purse stolen with cards etc inside.”

“Someone hacked my Facebook account and pretended they were me.”

“Credit Card scanned at ATM overseas.”


“House break in.”


“Wallet stolen from work locker.”

“Card skimming.”

“Loss of credit rating.”

“Via internet, emails.”

“E-bay identity.”

“Use of a credit card at a shop and signing a credit slip.”

“Credit card details stolen from internet.”

“Sons XBox account was hacked, and they got my debit card details and cleaned out my account.”

“Using my credit card numbers.”

“Fraudulent use of a credit card.”

“Fairfield Woolworths in Neeta City Shopping Mall stole $900 from me via an EFTPOS transaction.”