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Personal fraud costing Australians $1.4bn

Reported by AAP
Thursday, April 19, 2012
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Personal fraud is on the rise in Australia, with a whopping 1.2 million people falling victim in 2010-2011.

They lost $1.4 billion through the criminal activity, which includes credit card fraud, identity theft and scams, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said on Thursday.

One in 15 Australians aged 15 and over were targeted by fraudsters between July 2010 and June 2011.

This was up by nearly 50 per cent on the 806,000 victims identified in 2007.

In terms of specific crimes, the ABS found credit card fraud had increased, with one in 27 people affected compared to one in 42 in 2007.

More people also were caught out by scammers, with one in 34 duped compared with one in 50.

However the number of people being stung by identity fraudsters fell to one in 333 compared to one in 125.

National Identity Fraud Awareness Week spokesman Peter Campbell said Australians were at increased risk of having their details stolen and used for financial gain.

"Identity fraud is on the increase everywhere," he said.

"Scams are a growing concern and something that gets a lot of attention but the biggest losses and the biggest number of victims was on identity and credit card fraud.

"The survey results show that there is a 50 per cent increase in identity fraud over the period, which is alarming."

Mr Campbell said while people were becoming more aware of how to protect their personal information, there were still challenges posed by new technologies.

"They are shredding a lot more than they used to, and getting more security on their computers," he said.

"But technology is making people spend money in different ways.

"The pay-as-you-go (payment methods) or (MasterCard's) PayPass means you don't need to sign in, so once you've got somebody's identity, you can use it with little chance of getting caught."

Social media was also a contributing factor, as users become more comfortable with sharing details online.

"I don't think people are aware that even by putting their date of birth online, they're providing the one crucial piece of information to people who want to steal their identity," Mr Campbell said.

"You can still say how old you are without stating what day you were born."

31/10/2014 02:11Sydney, Australia. 31 October,2014
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