Debate IT: National Identity Fraud Awareness Week

Aust. Bureau of Statistics reveals which Australian states fall victim to fraud most frequently, and which sex is the most gullible...

This week was National Identity Fraud Awareness Week; a Crime Stoppers campaign to raise awareness of identity theft and fraud, as well as to educate businesses and the general public on taking care when distributing personal information either physically or online.

Common forms of identity fraud include credit card skimming; phishing; whaling threats that target enterprise executives; SMS and e-mail scams; trojans that can exploit online banking systems; and the infamous 419 or Nigerian scams that led to a recent partnership between the Queensland Police Service and Nigeria's Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Australian Bureau of Statistics research conducted between July and December 2007 (released this June) found that 806,000 Australians had fallen victim to some form of fraud in the 12 months preceding the research, of which over three-quarters was credit card fraud, totaling close to $1 billion in losses.

But perhaps most interesting was the demographic data the ABS presented that categorised instances and types of fraud in relation to sex, age, income and state of origin.

According to the ABS, Of the 806,000 total victims of all kinds of fraud, 438,000 were male and 368,000 were female.

54 percent of ID fraud victims (499,500 total) were male, and 46 percent female, with an average loss of $2,156 per person. In fact, men were sucked in more often than women in 8 out of the 9 fraud categories the ABS counted (credit card fraud, ID theft, lotteries, pyramid schemes, phishing, financial advice, chain letters, advanced fee frauds and other scams). The ladies only narrowly topped the guys for gullibility in one category – chain letters.

Western Australia suffered the highest victimisation rate for all types of ID fraud at 3.5 percent, followed by Victoria with 3.4 percent and NSW and the NT at 3.1 percent. South Australia enjoyed the lowest rate, at 2.2 percent, followed by Tasmania at 2.4 percent.

So, are men more gullible than women? If so, why?

Are South Australians and Tasmanians more savvy than the rest of the nation when it comes to spotting a scam?

Have you been a victim of some kind of online fraud?

Tell us your thoughts and experiences…
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