1 in 4 Australians are victims of identity theft or fraud

As many as 3.8 million Australians claim to be the victims of identity theft or fraud, the latest Veda Cybercrime Report has found. This number is up 59% in just the past two years, and doesn’t include those who don’t know they are victims.

Even more alarming for a society that is steadily getting more connected, credit application fraud rose by 13% for the year, and a full 50% of this credit fraud now occurs online.

There are a couple of possible reasons for this; a failure to create strong passwords and change them regularly, making financial transactions over insecure connections, and the publication of personal information on websites and social media. Especially the kind of personal information used by companies to verify identities, such as birth dates.

“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,” said Fiona Long, Veda’s Head of Cybercrime. “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.”

However, Gianpaolo Carraro, ANZ and Asia Country General Manager of Auth0, a company that develops a log-in system for apps and websites, flips the problem around, putting the onus on developers. In an exclusive with Business Insider, Carraro said that identity security needs to be at the forefront for developers.

“It’s not enough to simply provide users or employees with a way to log in. Authorisation and authentication also need to be secure. Firewalls are no longer good enough to protect the valuable data and personal information that is being shared among multiple applications and multiple devices, from multiple locations around the world,” Carraro said.

“Identity has become the new firewall” he added.

But while we wait for developers to work on more secure authentication processes, it doesn’t hurt to take Long’s advice and tighten up our online habits.

“Reducing the opportunities for fraudsters to access your personal information, such as your email or bank account details, gives you the best chance to avoid becoming a pawn in the identity theft marketplace,” said Long.

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