Aussie identity theft hits 772,000

Over the past 12 months 772,000 Australians have fallen victim to identify theft.

A recent survey conducted by Australian credit reference agency Veda has found that five per cent of Australians have fallen victim to identity theft over the past 12 months. The average out-of-pocket loss for each victim was just over $4000.

According to head of cybercrime at Veda, Fiona Long, those who do not take the steps to secure personal and financial information are inviting scammers to steal their information. Hoax emails are one of the most common ruses employed by thieves, with malware being installed on the victim’s computer that sends private information back to the scammers.

“We are all doing more and sharing more online and if we leave ourselves vulnerable, identity thieves can steal information like passwords, personal data and financial details without our knowledge,” says Long.

“Be careful in your online interactions like shopping online and using social media sites, as these can make a big difference to how vulnerable you are to identity crime,” she said.

“Combine this with common sense at home: lock your mailbox, keep personal documents hidden and shred information before it goes in the bin,” she said.

Read more at www.smh.com.au.

Opinion: Cybercrime is no laughing matter

Cybercrime is no laughing matter, with almost one in five Australians having already fallen victim to identity crimes. As more and more Australians go online more often, the number of victims continues to rise year-on-year.

We are no longer just talking about a virus that affects your computer files and requires a technician to re-install your operating system. Gone are the days of the hacker who writes a virus to harm as many computers as possible, instead, they have found ways to profit from their mischief by infecting computers with malware and selling the personal information to criminal organisations.

When it comes to fighting cybercrime, the most common precautions are the best precautions:

  • Ensure you have up-to-date security software installed on all devices
  • Never complete secure transactions on public computers
  • Never click an email link or open an attachment from someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting
  • Use different passwords across the internet. Your most important sources such as banking and email should have unique passwords.

Have you been the victim of identity theft? Did you report the matter? In the light of your experience, what would your words of advice be to others reading this piece?





    COMMENTS

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    14th Apr 2015
    10:22am
    For around $40 one can buy a cross-cut six-pages-at- once paper shredder which can greatly reduce your chances of identity theft by from-the-rubbish-bin pilferers. Some shredders also cross-cut plastic credit and debit cards. Problem "partially" solved.
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    12:30pm
    That lot are better than the FBI at putting those Scraps back together !! :-) Get a Match !! :-)
    MICK
    14th Apr 2015
    2:48pm
    Life used to be much easier in the old days Eddie
    Polly Esther
    14th Apr 2015
    12:19pm
    Hence the saying, "I'm not sure whether I'm Arthur or Martha".
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    12:33pm
    They'll get a Shock if they Steal mine !! :-)
    " What's this Barnstead living for ? :-(
    Jackie
    14th Apr 2015
    2:42pm
    Keep your sense of humour ! Take no notice of Anonymous Trolls who are as boring as .....
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    4:14pm
    I'll listen to anyone Jackie, Its a Rotten Case that doesn't deserve at least a Hearing :-( Adherence is Optional !! :-) Who wants to be known as SAD SACK ? :-)
    I mainly just try to Cheer Up the Downtrodden ! :-) I hope Your Identity is not Thoven ? :-)
    Anonymous
    14th Apr 2015
    9:06pm
    particolor

    okay, mate, Barnstead…. New Hampshire, USA???? or something to do with purifying water???

    Your spelling of COLOUR as COLOR suggests New Hampshire BUT could have this a*se about….. give us a hint, yes?
    Kato
    14th Apr 2015
    9:18pm
    Mussitate I think your off Kilt with that probe.
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    9:33pm
    I didn't want to Write Barsted on here so that did !! :-)
    And Years ago I was looking for a Web Name one night and saw a box with Color Television written on it [Made in America] !! I said that will do and its been the same forever !! OK Now ? :-)
    Anonymous
    15th Apr 2015
    4:50pm
    Kato
    That 'probe' comment was awfully amusing…. thank you!

    particolor
    arrhhhhh…. all is clear. I knew I was missing something!!!! No excuses, just inattentive and a bit slow, it seems. Thanks particular.
    particolor
    15th Apr 2015
    5:52pm
    I'm not all that particular !! :-)
    A. N. Onymous
    14th Apr 2015
    1:27pm
    "Opinion: Cybercrime is no laughing matter"

    Apparently cybercrime IS a laughing matter, at least to particolor.

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised. He/she seems to find all topics raised on this site laughing matters.

    Just in case my comment requires clarification, I do NOT consider that blanket laughing view a good or commendable attitude.
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    1:38pm
    :-(
    dougie
    14th Apr 2015
    1:41pm
    Hi there,
    Get used to inane laughter and inappropriate comment if you read too much of this site. When one tries to make intelligent and reasoned comment you are derided and laughed at or called a troll or liberal stooge. The site controllers with the exception of Kate seem to take little responsibility for this vacuous behaviour, bad language and comment along with a particular form of bullying seem to be not only acceptable but encouraged. If the various parties ever visit the site they would be shocked by some of the vindictive comment.
    Be warned all who wish to be part of this discussion site.
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    1:55pm
    Sorry for being a Happy Person :-)
    I've Mended My ways ! :-(
    But Life is too Short to be Miserable ALL THE TIME !!..
    Anonymous
    14th Apr 2015
    5:49pm
    I thought I was the only one to recognise "Parti's" comments as inane.
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    7:09pm
    OK ! Ill stop that now and turn into an Absolute Critic of anything, like Half of the others !! :-)
    Anonymous
    14th Apr 2015
    8:24pm
    particolor

    it's okay…. I am completely over serious about everything, so you compliment me and between us we become pretty balanced!

    dougie

    I don't have quite the same view, although there certainly have been some extreme behaviour by some. Mostly from the following:

    - right wing trolls who are there to stir and present certain political views and will do so in anyway they deem fit. Fortunately, they usually disappear once certain political points have been made….. they appear to have a 'use by' date.
    - people form alliances behind the site and when their 'friend' is taken to task on a certain subject, they tend to jump to their 'friends' defence and it sometimes turns into a form of bullying. It ALWAYS causes BAD feelings and tends to cause people to 'feud' which is really not nice.

    Other than the above, the funny thing on this site is that you can be totally opposed on one subject matter but be aligned on another, so it is always good to TRY and interact with everyone 'relatively' nicely. Yeah, my hand is up, I could try harder to be nicer…. it's just that I am not really a nicey, nicey person, as you have probably already realised.

    I don't think the people who are behind this site are bad at all, they do 'talk' to people about their behaviour (offsite) and do take appropriate action, if that behaviour persists…. PLUS people have been banned, although if those they banned then create another Avatar and use a VPN, there is very little they can do about it.

    I think everyone has been 'ripped' on this site, a tad… me included, so don't stop stop posting and don't take anyone very seriously… it helps!
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    9:16pm
    "What? Me worry !!"
    Alfred Newman (Mad Magazine)
    GrayComputing
    14th Apr 2015
    1:39pm
    Sorry this is long but I hope it helps. I have been in the computer industry for 40 years plus years. Computer scientists in the 60's knew how to make totally secure computers systems. One of them was called "Multics". This is not a secret, it is in the public domain and widely distributed in academia.
    Yet after that time Governments and their security agencies have for many years placed backdoors (hardware and software) into "secure" computers systems, servers and good encryption software tools for their own "well intended" ends.
    Plus major OS (operating systems) vendors like MS Windows and Apples and phone OS developers were asleep or drugged at the wheel and left huge security holes in our most common OS and tools.
    The scammers, bad hackers and criminals found out how to unlock these backdoors and get your ID, passwords and emails sent back to them and rob and blackmail you blind.
    Thus we the public became easy targets and financial prey.
    World wide Governments and their security agencies really do not want to help us because they want to spy on the "bad people and dissdents" and so do not want any 100% secure computers and networks released to the general public.
    So as a direct consequence we the millions/billions of goodies are made to suffer ID theft, stolen VISA and depleted bank accounts by our insecure computers and phones.
    Instead of governments helping us to be secure we now have the added privacy loss from totally misguided meta data laws that are so easily bypassed the baddies.
    So what to do about this?
    Write and phone often to your PM and MP (like I do) and complain about this state of affairs and ask them to make our computers and networks secure. Len Spyker
    Anonymous
    14th Apr 2015
    8:39pm
    GrayComputing (Len)

    You are correct about govts not wanting us to have fully secure systems…. the USA govt. have been taking Apple to task (seriously) for having a cloud service which Apple themselves have no idea what is in it, due to encryption - this also give the USA govt. little chance of accessing. Australian Govt, as well at the NSA, now will or already do get ALL our data and NSA have even said that they will use this data for POLITICAL reasons and will also supply this data to USA Corporate Interests.

    Obviously, Aust govts will be no different, so we really are heading towards an Orwellian (1984) future. Considering that everything is held digitally (can be altered without detection), our govt can say anything they like about anyone that they consider a threat…. NOT a threat to Aust. security but a threat to their political election/position. Should you, for instance, be running a brilliant campaign to crucify an elected govt or run against an elected govt, it would be easy to get you to back up by saying that they have extracted data about you looking at children online, or something that will destroy your family or something that will destroy your career. It is definitely going to be used to stop dissent from the people, especially those that are regarded by the public as 'expert' or 'respected' in the community.

    As stated above….. if we do not do something about corporate control of our nation, democracy and civil rights, we will certainly be treading the Orwellian road to nowhere.
    Gerry
    14th Apr 2015
    4:57pm
    I`m surprised the Veda spokesperson didn`t mention their alerts service. Veda is a credit reference agency. By registering with them you receive an alert if your credit history is requested by a financial institution. So, if some criminal stole your identity & applied for credit cards, loans, etc in your name you would be made aware of it promptly. I`ve had this service for years & its not expensive for the peace of mind it gives you.
    KSS
    14th Apr 2015
    5:59pm
    It took 13 comment for someone to blame the government today. Is this a record?
    particolor
    14th Apr 2015
    7:12pm
    No ! Just Unlucky :-)
    Anonymous
    14th Apr 2015
    8:53pm
    KSS
    Are you being superstitious or political?

    The former….. can't help you there.
    The latter…… NO ONE has 'blamed' the government?? A very VALID comment was made about OUR data being collected, through backdoors being built into systems by govts (particularly the USA, in relation to western nations) which weakens our ability to keep out hackers, etc. In Australia, we don't manufacture computers/phones, so we don't have that requirement BUT BOTH main political parties (Libs & Labor), have okayed the collection of our data (PRIVATE INFORMATION).
    THIS SAME GOVERNMENT WHO COULDN'T EVEN KEEP SAFE 21 WORLD LEADER'S personal details - including credit cards, etc. Those world leaders were Obama, Putin, Cameron, etc, etc….. not little people but bloody BIG IMPORTANT people!!! There have been so many other bungles whereby OUR GOVT have sent, in error, private financial information to 'unknowns'.

    Hence, it is certainly VALID that govt ineptness and Orwellian draconian laws should be looked at in relation to the safety of OUR personal information.
    MICK
    15th Apr 2015
    12:49am
    As usual KSS your comment is a pro this government one. Not sure if you are a Frank avatar. Eitber way give it a break. Nobody wants to read propaganda from this government. Maybe after the next election and a new government there willbe bettwr conversation.
    HOLA
    15th Apr 2015
    7:50am
    Particolor - I like your sense of humour - don't let them bully you. :-) :-)
    particolor
    15th Apr 2015
    9:17am
    Should I tell the Headmaster ? :-)
    HOLA
    15th Apr 2015
    4:00pm
    Yes, put them all in.
    particolor
    15th Apr 2015
    5:54pm
    Yeah ! In a box and send it to India ! :-)
    Ritza
    14th Apr 2015
    6:47pm
    American friends are very proactive as it is very common there.
    Yes I shred my bills, use paypal on line and have different passwords ( unfortunately written in a little book yes yes old technology)
    However someone tried to take money out of my account to send on Western Union. My bank asked the security questions no answer.. so cancelled my debit card at 3.25am
    Thank you my bank
    geomac
    14th Apr 2015
    8:33pm
    I recently had my card blocked because of suspected fraud. I was fortunate to have sufficient funds to buy my groceries when this occurred. Went to credit union and new card process initiated so five days without a card. I noticed a transaction on my account I had no knowledge of and went through the process to query the 34 dollar debit. Got a letter on Friday saying I had been found to have used my card properly and the 34 dollars were credited to my account.
    Now the thing is I was positive I had not made the transaction and thats important because it would have cost me 26 bucks if I was wrong. I do not open emails from banks etc because those institutions do not send them and I am in a credit union anyway. I deleted a itunes email today without opening it because I have not made any transactions lately and if there is a problem when I do want a song I can deal with it then using my password and security question. BTW the itunes email had it coming from me in the from column.
    If you have a concern about an email sent to you from what appears to be a bank etc do not click on the link in the email but contact the organisation via your browser( google ANZ or whatever ) and query the email in the contact section.
    Another thing I do is delete history etc after banking online. With Safari it only requires a click for reset but just as easy with other browsers in your settings.
    Oldie84
    14th Apr 2015
    10:43pm
    Had to smile, KSS got in before me.... You beat me to it Mate. "-(
    Anonymous
    15th Apr 2015
    4:56pm
    Then by all means READ my comment to her above… it will also apply to your dear self. Cheers.
    Oldie84
    15th Apr 2015
    5:14pm
    Neither, Mussitate. I'm just bemused that everything discussed here seems to attach blame to the "Government". But wasn't it some Public Servants who made a mistake and let the info slip? Do you really think the PM and Ministers sit at the keyboard when all this stuff gets entered? Easy up, mate.
    As far as personal details are concerned, every one saves your details, your bank, this site, were ever you shop or enquire on line, your doctor .... I could go on and on. Live with it, we gave away our right to privacy as soon as we logged on to this digital age. Have a good day.
    Anonymous
    16th Apr 2015
    5:21pm
    Oldie81

    No, duh, of course not BUT it reflects on their ability to ensure that solid security practices are maintained and to oversee such matters…. given that we were HOSTING the G20 whereby the most prominent world leaders were attending!!! You take time out to do more than attend corporate media events and speak at the Press Club ad nauseam.

    It all comes back to the fact that a bunch of second rate ministers were sworn in, simply because the leader requires everyone to be dumber and less talented than he is (a really low intellectual bunch then).

    Especially considering the talent and abilities of the previous govt who put Australia's economy as the best (yes, the BEST) in the world during the height of the first wave of the GFC and many, many of the other firsts and good things for Australia.

    This from a PREVIOUS Liberal voter. You see I am NOT party aligned, I am policy aligned and this current government should be SUED for the irreversible damage that they are reeking on Australian, its heritage and its economy.

    Civil Rights - just like that ….. you are willingly to give your rights away with a sigh that says it is our own fault "live with it". How sickening that response is.

    ALL IT TAKES is for laws to be put in place that do NOT allow corporations or governments to secretly and without accountability or transparency, to extract OUR information and allow US, THE PEOPLE, to sue the a*se off any organisation that does so. There you go… all solved!! We have our privacy and our rights ….. just like that!

    Hence, what the Libs and Labor have done is despicable AND I will NOT be voting for either of these parties, because of this issue alone.

    It is a pity that we threw out the previous Labor government because I don't think we will ever see such talent again….. nothing Shorten has shown me so far suggest that anyone comes close. However, Labor policies are still better for Australia than that presented by the Libs which are merely megacorp wishlists revamped to look like some sort of policy objective…. no research or investigations undertaken to see what effect those so called policies will have on Australia now or in the future - irresponsible and unacceptable.

    I am younger than you Oldie81, so maybe I too will lose my fire….. I know it has dampened down somewhat. You should have seen me when I was younger… sigh!
    Radish
    15th Apr 2015
    9:22am
    I was quite incensed some years back when I sent off a pile of personal information when I swapped super funds.
    I registered the package, it was received but I never received the information back.
    Contacted the super fund who said they did not have it and it had been sent back.
    It has never been seen since.
    particolor
    15th Apr 2015
    9:29am
    Someone in Russia is now Comfortably Retired on Your Super Funds ! :-) LOL
    Radish
    15th Apr 2015
    3:45pm
    so far nothing has happened lol....this was about 8 years ago....still wonder where my information ended up.
    Anonymous
    15th Apr 2015
    5:06pm
    I received (by email) personal account numbers and details of someone who had been granted a loan interest rate discount for the $1.5m loan they had, instead of my measly loan details, as an appendix. One of the big four banks got the information mixed up…. I immediately informed them that I had received someone else's info and wanted to know if they had received mine. The response was essentially for me to pull my head in……'there is nothing to see here'…. that of course my info wasn't sent to anyone else and they had no concerns, whatsoever, of me seeing someone else's account details and name etc.

    So, Radish, I am glad you still have your super and no one got to it but I can assume it did go to someone else but that you were lucky and they didn't do anything about it, except to throw it in the bin. As was the case with the info I received in error..well shredded it but much the same.

    These days if anyone wants original documentation, I always photocopy it and get it appropriately 'certified as true and correct' and send those off. They still have details of your info but at least you still have the originals and can verify that YOU are the REAL person.
    Frugal Travels
    16th Apr 2015
    11:47am
    I love the comment about the spelling of 'color' labeling someone American because we spell certain words wrong. People in third world countries can really have problems dealing with things like that. But I had to laugh. I wonder if, as an expat, I should use British spelling-Which is the more international spelling? Who am I asking? LOL.

    I recently had the reverse problem. I'm living in Nepal and do some online business to help the economy here and make a few rupees. So, this person bought a thangka painting without a problem and it was sent to them in New York City, US. When I went to send the web developer his share of money on several orders I listed the last names of the customers. Paypal demanded I provide them with the date of birth of one customer from a few months prior. How would I get that? Write to the person who is probably Korean and ask them to send me a copy of their drivers license or passport? 'Hey, remember us? you bought a thangka from us a few months ago with your credit card, and in a effort to assure the US government that you are not a terrorist please provide us with a copy of your ID.' What are the odds that they would scan something and email it to me? 0%.

    So I lost my paypal account and spent 2 months trying to get $900 out of Nepal to pay my web guy. The funny thing is I didn't earn the money with Paypal's help, just used it to send money to the web guy.

    Yes, we are a paranoid people, we Americans. Now I am probably a 'person of interest' when I go back home.

    There is definitely a flip side to the issue.
    particolor
    16th Apr 2015
    2:07pm
    Well I like Yanky Spelling on some things ! Especially Jail ! Gaol and Goal are a good example. I never knew if I was to Kick one or get tossed into one ?? :-)
    Its all got to do with the Which Witch is Which ? :-)
    Anonymous
    16th Apr 2015
    5:38pm
    Re spelling…. all depends on where you are. If I was living in the USA again I would do what I did then, use the appropriate spelling for that country (with the occasional slip). Gives respect to the country you are in and helps alleviate misunderstandings. When choosing an onsite name, however, free range to apply whatever you damn well please, yes?

    I agree with you about the ridiculous state our governments have got themselves into about terrorism and the stupidity that emanates from their hysteria….. although a lot of it is hyped up so that governments can force legislation upon us that strips us of our rights. Frightening us into accepting whatever they and their corporate masters deign to take from us.

    I hope you are NOT on a 'person of interest' list because in the USA, Americans and foreigners alike, can now simply be made to disappear and with the condoning of torture… it is not something to take lightly.
    particolor
    16th Apr 2015
    7:50pm
    I don't know weather er! Whether to have a Conyak or a Cognac or an Oozo or an Oyzo now thanks to that !! :-(
    bhar
    8th Jan 2019
    2:24am
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    3:38am
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