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9 Oct, 2012

Take This Australian Police Survey To Ward Off Identity Theft


Canberra, October 08 2012 (AFP Media release)The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has established an identity crime survey to help the global public test their vulnerability to identity crime, one of the fastest growing categories of global crime, with some studies estimating annual increases of 10%.

The survey coincides with National Identity Fraud Awareness Week (8-14 October), an annual event that aims to educate the general public on the importance of being identity crime aware. Both individuals and businesses are at risk of identity theft. By practicing sound identity security habits and implementing a few personal and organisational security measures, incidents of identity fraud can be significantly reduced. Simple changes in personal behaviour can make a difference, as the survey shows.

The survey, which is open to everyone and could save them considerable grief, is available at the following link: http://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/campaigns/national-identity-fraud-awareness-week.aspx.

According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Fraud Survey, Australians lost $1.4 billion due to personal fraud, which includes credit card fraud, identity theft and scams, during the 2010/2011 financial year. More alarmingly, the survey estimated a total of 1.2 million Australians aged 15 years and over have fallen victim to at least one incident of personal fraud.

AFP National Coordinator Identity Security Strike Teams Darren Booy said this year’s focus is on limiting the amount of personal information that falls into the hands of criminals. “Identity fraud is an emerging threat to Australia and is growing rapidly, with identity fraudsters using increasingly sophisticated methods to manipulate their victims,” Superintendent Booy said.

“Australians should ensure they protect their personal and financial details by taking basic steps to protect their identity from thieves and scammers, such as regularly reviewing credit reports and financial statements, and immediately informing police if details appear to have been compromised. It is also important that the public understands that information shared online can stay there forever and can be accessed by anyone including friends, family, strangers and sadly sometimes criminals.”

The AFP hosts multi-agency Identity Security Strike Teams (ISSTs) which operate from the AFP’s Sydney office, with identity crime investigations also conducted from other AFP offices. The ISST investigates serious and complex identity security matters forming a collaborative network among law enforcement agencies to effectively deal with this crime.

The AFP’s High Tech Crime Operations unit deals specifically with organised online gangs who use malicious software to compromise computers and computer systems.