A new support centre called iDcare has been opened in Sippy Downs, Queensland for victims of identity theft around Australia.
The federally funded centre has developed a free phone service so that people can call to get help and advice on dealing with identity theft and other issues such as credit history.
People can call 1300 432 273 or visit the service’s website.
“Over the past 10 years we have witnessed nothing short of a technology revolution and we now live in an era – a digital age – where identity is not only stolen but exploited,” federal justice minister Michael Keenan said in a statement.
“Identity theft is both a crime and an enabler of crimes. It is a key method used by organised criminals, terrorists, and individuals committing cybercrime. Often, it is not until a person has their identity stolen or compromised that they really appreciate just how valuable their identity is – and how difficult it can be to recover from the effects of identity crime.”
According to Keenan, most victims of identity crime will spend at least 18 hours dealing with the consequences and victims of a total “identity hijack” can spend over 200 hours dealing with the problem.
“Victims of such crime can also suffer considerable psychological distress – around one in six require counselling or other medical treatment,” he said.
In February 2014, the National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) Australia purchased 52 computer hard drives and found that 15 of the hard drives had highly sensitive personal data including bank account details, medical information and home addresses.
The hard drives were taken to a forensic investigator, Insight Intelligence, who was able to easily extract the information. Some of the data included the legal case records of a family dispute, email files from a medical facility and signed documents granting access to business and personal emails from a Justice of the Peace.
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