Australian Institute of Criminology

Skip to content

Projected increase in credit and bank card fraud

Media Release

14 September 2007

'With the increasing demand for individuals to be financially literate and self-sufficient, older Australians may find themselves at greater risk of fraud', Dr Toni Makkai, Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, said at the release of 'Older people and credit card fraud', number 343 in the AIC's Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice series.

'Faced with an ageing population, the economic role of older Australians has important implications for the economy, as well as for financial wellbeing in retirement', Dr Makkai said.

This issue is particularly important as the greater likelihood of poor health conditions, and in some cases significant levels of accumulated savings, may mean older Australians are more vulnerable and less able to protect themselves from fraud, especially by people in positions of trust or care.

Although the proportion of the elderly experiencing fraud is lower than those aged less than 65 years, fraud is the crime they are most likely to experience. In older age groups, fraud has been found to be 2.2 times more prevalent than violent offences, whereas in the broader population rates are comparable.

The projected growth in the number of older people due to population ageing implies that a greater number of victims of credit and bank card fraud will be among the older population.

Simulated profiles of fraud were combined with population projections to calculate growth rates of credit card fraud in the economy. The modelling suggests that the prevalence of fraud could increase over the next 25 years by up to 20 percent and the rate of growth in the number of older fraud victims will be much faster.

Data for this study were taken from the Australian component of the 2004 International Crime and Victimisation Survey, which included a question regarding illegal use of a person's credit or bank cards. The question excluded misuse of credit card or bank account details provided when using the internet to purchase goods or services.