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.
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?