75% Of Australians Putting Themselves At Risk Of Identity Fraud

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11th October 2010, 09:00am - Views: 670





Misc Miscellaneous National Identity Fraud Awareness Week 1 image





MEDIA RELEASE

For Immediate Release

Monday 11th October, 2010

75% OF AUSTRALIANS PUTTING THEMSELVES AT RISK OF IDENTITY FRAUD

Australians have been urged to take action to protect themselves against identity fraud

after a recent Newspoll survey found an alarming 75% of Australians regularly throw away

highly sensitive information such as utility bills, bank statements, expired credit cards and

application forms, without shredding or disposing of them safely1

According to the survey, 85% of Australians are concerned about identity fraud but

continually put themselves at enormous risk2, costing the Australian economy $1 billion

annually3

.  It is no wonder 43% of all respondents surveyed believe it is likely they will

become the victim of identity theft

4

.

The findings coincide with the launch of National Identity Fraud Awareness Week

(NIDFAW)

which runs until Friday 15th October and aims to raise awareness of identity

fraud. This year, leaders behind the initiative, Crimestoppers and Fellowes Australia are

encouraging consumers to implement simple security measures to dramatically

decrease the number of people who are affected each year.

NIDFAW spokesperson and Fellowes Australia Marketing Manager Peter Campbell, said

that whilst identity fraud is growing, many consumers and businesses aren’t aware of the

precautions that need to be taken.

“Households are simply not aware how much and how sensitive this information is that

they are currently disposing of recklessly. 83% of Australians believe that the level of

identity theft has increased over the last 5 years

5

, so we are urging the public to be more

vigilant about destroying personal documents prior to throwing them in the bin,” Mr.

Campbell said.

“Consumers

and business continue to leave

highly confidential documents in easily

accessible and unsecure places, such as rubbish or disposal bins and letterboxes. These

documents that contain information such as bank/credit card details, addresses and tax

file numbers provide fraudsters with a wealth of information. Potentially, all it could take is

a combination of a few carelessly discarded pieces of information such as name, date

of birth and bank account details for the fraudsters to have the information they need to

attempt to commit identity fraud.  

“Consumers

need to take a more proactive approach towards tackling this problem.

Implementing simple document security measures, like locking their letterbox or using a

PO Box and shredding sensitive documents before they leave the house or office, can

dramatically decrease risk and minimise potentially devastating losses,” Mr. Campbell

said. 

                                                

1

Fellowes (2010), Newspoll Survey, Australia – ID Fraud Awareness, conducted on a national online study with a

sample of 1211 people aged 18-64 years

2

Fellowes (2010), Newspoll Survey, Australia – ID Fraud Awareness

3

Australian Bureau of Statistics (Released 27th June 2008) Personal Fraud Survey, Australia

4

Fellowes (2010), Newspoll Survey, Australia – ID Fraud Awareness

5

Fellowes (2010), Newspoll Survey, Australia – ID Fraud Awareness

Misc Miscellaneous National Identity Fraud Awareness Week 2 image


New technology, ‘smartphones’ and social media have increased the number of

sources from which we receive and process information making people more susceptible

to identity theft. While online ID fraud is often overhyped, paper based fraud is still

prevalent and the most common way for an identity to be stolen. 

Of those surveyed by Newspoll, respondents aged between 50-64 years old were the

most alarmed about identity theft, with 88% showing concern. Interestingly, 61% of this

age group have access to a paper shredder and 46% regularly use it to shred personal

information, making them also the demographic most conscious of this risk

6


ABOUT NIDFAW

National Identity Fraud Awareness Week is an international campaign that aims to

educate consumers and businesses about the dangers of identity fraud/theft and the

preventative steps that can be taken. It takes place annually around the globe in

Europe, Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. 


NIDFAW is a joint initiative of Crime Stoppers Australia and Fellowes Australia, with support

from partners, Secure Identity and Veda Advantage, Australia Post - Post Office Boxes

and Officeworks.


For more information on how to protect yourself from identity fraud, and how to cope if


or www.crimestoppers.com.au for more information.

NIDFAW TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR IDENTITY 

1. Protect your important and personal information by ensuring it is stored safely.

2.  Reduce the risk of identity theft by shredding or destroying unwanted documents that

contain sensitive information. 

3. Check your account statements regularly and look for any unusual or unauthorized

activity.

4. Subscribe


to an ID theft protection/monitoring service such as Secure Identity that

allows you to proactively monitor your credit file for fraudulent activity and be able to

react swiftly should you become a target for ID theft

5. Contact your credit card company and banking institution before departing for travel,

or your travel may prompt a block on your account.

6. Create passwords/PINS that are not easily associated with you including date of birth,

phone number or age.

7. Use Internet banking sites with caution, be wary of and never provide banking details

through unsolicited emails or phone calls. 

8. Discuss the risks of identity fraud with your family, friends and colleagues and raise

awareness of this growing issue.

ENDS 

For more information including interviews or images please contact:


Bethany Wilson

Icon.pr

03 9642 4107

0403 898 880 

Bethany@iconpr.com.au


Genevieve Brannigan 

Icon.pr

03 9642 4107

0411 037 109

Genevieve@iconpr.com.au


                                                

6

Fellowes (2010), Newspoll Survey, Australia – ID Fraud Awareness








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