Cybercrime affects one in four

One in four Australians now claim to be the victim of identity theft or fraud.

Cybercrime affects one in four

The 2015 Cybercrime and Fraud Report released by credit information and analysis company Veda has revealed that one in four Australians now claim to be the victim of identity theft or fraud. Many more are likely to have been affected without being aware of a security breach.

The report illustrates how criminals are becoming more tech savvy, with 50 per cent of credit application fraud now occurring online – up 33 per cent from last year. Furthermore, credit applications involving identity takeovers in Australia increased by 59 per cent over the past two years.

While 70 per cent of Australians are worried about putting information online, Veda’s head of cybercrime Fiona Long points out that “fewer than one in two Australians (44 per cent) regularly change their online passwords and only 66 per cent use secure web pages (https) when transacting online.  Almost one third (32 per cent) of Australians publish their full birth date on social networking sites, which is a key piece of personal information used to verify someone’s identity.”

“Most people think that simple and accessible online measures are effective in preventing their personal data from being stolen, but few people actually do basic things to mitigate the risk of identity fraud.  As fraudsters get more sophisticated, consumers need to get smarter about how they protect their personal information such as passwords, personal details and financial information,” she added.

Ms Long also noted that stealing credit cards is no longer the number-one priority for most sophisticated criminals, with a full identity takeover now the main goal. Identity crimes cost the Australian economy $2 billion a year with an additional $350 million spent on preventing and responding to these crimes.

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Opinion: Common sense will keep you safe

Technological advancements have dramatically changed the world in which we live over the past decade, with almost every essential service or product being managed, accessed or purchased online. And our reliance on technology will only increase in the coming years.

The pleasing statistic to emerge from Veda’s 2015 Cybercrime and Fraud Report is that 90 per cent of respondents had anti-virus software installed on their computer, a much higher percentage than in previous reports. For the average home user, an anti-virus program, even a free version, is the first and only line of defence in preventing malware from installing itself on their computer and stealing critical information. If you don’t have an anti-virus program installed, I recommend you read Ryan’s review on the top three anti-virus programs for PC or MAC and install one today.

I wasn’t surprised to read that just 44 per cent of Australians change their online passwords regularly. My recommendation is that you update your passwords at least once every year and always make sure the password used for your main email account is different from any other account you use online.

Criminals will continue to target Australians through new and improved spam emails claiming to be from government departments, banks or even your local post office. Never open an email from someone you don’t recognise and be especially careful in regards to the attachments you open and links you click.

Finally, and most importantly, my oft-repeated phrase when talking about cybercrime is this: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Have you or someone you know been affected by cybercrime? Would you know if you had been a victim of cybercrime? What measures have you put in place to prevent this from happening to you, or are you of the opinion that “it won’t happen to me”? 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    24th Nov 2015
    I've learned never to even Check Your Credit Rating, even just as a Sticky Beak !! You will be Swamped by Loan Sharks after it !! :-( :-(
    24th Nov 2015
    I have been a member of Veda for many years and have never had any loan shark or any other entity contact me as a result. The only contact is Veda to let me know if there has been an inquiry on my credit rating. I can then check to see if the inquiry is a valid one.
    24th Nov 2015
    Credit Savy was the Culprit :-(
    24th Nov 2015
    In the last month or two I have been receiving multiple emails using the names of several of my contacts (however with different email addresses) asking me to click on a suspicious link. A dead giveaway is that it is addressed to everyone in their contact book. It seems the victims are mostly users of Yahoo webmail. Anyone with an old Yahoo account should at least revisit it and clear the contact list. If still using it, crank up your password to something really difficult to crack.
    24th Nov 2015
    That'll teach you to use ABC123 !! :-)
    24th Nov 2015
    If in doubt then don't click on links. Not worth it.
    Precious 1
    24th Nov 2015
    i googled re stealing identities and 16 came up in Africa..
    same name etc etc take notice of what to do and definately never in my opinion do internet banking of any description...its just asking for trouble..there are other ways...the advice from our parents from way back is often the best.....most of these providers are not working to our advantage only their own amassing money....
    24th Nov 2015
    We've been lucky. Was hit by card fraud in the US a couple of years ago but this was due to the front desk clerk recording the card details when we paid for accommodation and then reusing later. We noticed the culprit was not working at the front desk a few days later and worked it out.
    Apart for that we have been lucky. We are careful that we never give our card details to any business which is not able to be checked with google, which has a very short operating history and which has bad customer reviews. It sometime takes a bit of work before we commit to a purchase but we have avoided the pain which comes with fraud.
    People who publish their birthdates on social media really need to be committed. Its bad enough when companies you deal with get you to verify who you are and I hold fears here that one day an employee may onsell such details. Then one can have a real problem: identity fraud.
    24th Nov 2015
    I always put 1842 and they think I'm Wyatt Earp !! :-)
    24th Nov 2015
    A safe site for when money has to be transferred will always start with https:// as opposed to http://. There should also be a locked padlock but this can be difficult to find. It's worth taking the time to check.

    24th Nov 2015
    I used to have trouble remembering passwords until I changed my password to 'incorrect'. Now anytime I forget, the computer tells me 'Your password is incorrect'. Works for me.

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