Helpline inundated as identity thieves target Australian and New Zealanders
An identity theft helpline has received more than 6500 calls in its first six months, with most relating to stolen licences.
Security experts warn licence specifics are the “highest prize” for crooks, who use them to access bank accounts, buy mobile phones and apply for credit. Two-thirds of people seeking help from iDcare – Australia and New Zealand’s only national support service – were victims of licence identity theft.
Exclusive data reveals there were 588 licence-related cases in the past month alone, with victims losing on average $11,909, twice as much as other types of identity theft ($5,700).
In a quarter of cases, criminals used licence details to access a victim’s bank accounts.
They also acquired mobile phones (20 per cent), applied for credit cards (19 per cent), applied for loans (13 per cent), and accessed superannuation (12 per cent).
In most cases, the victims still held their physical card but had unwittingly handed over vital details such as their licence number, birth date and address.
Identity thieves used email to obtain the information (30 per cent), phone scams (31 per cent) and physical theft (24 per cent).
iDcare director Dr David Lacey said fraudsters prized licence details more than the physical card or credit card details because they were a key form of identity.
“The physical – and, increasingly, the online – use of drivers’ licences across government and business has made the licence the most sought after form of identity favoured by identity thieves,” Dr Lacey said.
He said that on average, three other credentials were compromised alongside the licence.
And unlike bank-card fraud, which could be quickly detected and stopped, driver’s licence victims may never get their private information back.
“You don’t get your identity back once it’s stolen, it’s always out there. It’s a lifelong sentence for a victim,” Dr Lacey said.
To read more see the original article here posted by the Courier Mail.