To coincide with Privacy Awareness Week, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner David Watts has launched an online identity theft test.
The test examines 11 ways Australians could be subject to identity theft including the sharing of personal information via the Internet and data stolen from rubbish bins or mailboxes. It also offers advice on how to reduce the risk of identity theft.
Watts gave an example of how a criminal who gets hold of someone else's Tax File Number can use it to access their bank account, steal their superannuation and even steal their house.
An investigation in Sydney by the Private Group on behalf of the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) in February 2013 found that 11 per cent out of the 100 businesses surveyed had highly personal confidential information located in bins outside their offices.
For example, one document listed a bank account holder’s name, address, credit card number, account balances and credit limit.
Another set of documents found outside a solicitor’s office included correspondence about a legal settlement for a real estate dispute. It detailed the parties involved, amount of the settlement and bank account information for the account receiving the settlement.
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