Australian Institute of Criminology

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Identity fraud and theft in Australia

Crime facts info no. 164

ISSN 1445-7288
Canberra: Australian Institute of Criminology, February 2008

In 2007, the Community attitudes to privacy survey was conducted by the Wallis Consulting Group for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Included in the issues examined was a series of questions concerning awareness and experience of identity fraud and theft (IFT). More than 1,500 respondents took part in the latest survey, which showed increased levels of concern in the community over the prevalence of IFT since the previous comparable survey conducted in 2004. Nine percent of those surveyed said they had been a victim of IFT, while 17 percent said they knew a victim. Respondents aged 34-49 years were most likely to have been a victim (12%), while those aged under 24 years were the least likely (2%), but quite likely to know someone who had been a victim (19%). Respondents with annual household incomes greater than $100,000 were most likely both to have been a victim themselves (11%), and to have known a victim (21%), with the likelihood of knowing a victim increasing with household income up to $100,000. The report noted that the overall level of community concern regarding IFT incidents was high, with the majority of respondents (60%) saying they were concerned or very concerned. Almost one-half of respondents (45%) considered that using the internet and online banking or purchasing were the most likely ways in which IFT would occur.

Identity fraud and theft in Australia by age and income, 2007 (percent)

Source: Wallis Consulting Group (2007)