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July 06, 2010

  • News:  Ten Percent Australians Victimized

    In just three years, Australian online identity and credit card fraud grew from $977 million to nearly $1.3 billion. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, One in 10 Australians who use the internet have become victim of internet fraud within the past year. The average victim of identity and credit card fraud victim losses over $1,000; however the highest losers were those in the 18 to 24 year old bracket with an average loss of $1,600. Detective Inspector Bruce Van Der Graaf, head of the NSW Police Computer Crime Unit, said he wasn't surprised by the findings and that many of the online scams involve phishing emails where criminals impersonate legitimate businesses and banks to coax credit cardholders to provide personal information and personal identification numbers (PIN).

    Popular opinion supports the research results in that young credit cardholders are more at-risk in becoming victimized with online fraud. The authorities feel that young college students are just not equipped to deal with identity and online fraud scams. In comparison to the British, Australians have become bigger targets of identity and credit card thieves. The average Brit lost an average of $623 per victim. Despite the high tech education that most college students receive, many think a website is safe if the search engine pulled it up. A failure to verify that the site is secure by checking for an https:// in the address could end up costing the individual hundreds and thousands of dollars.

    A study reported by the Herald indicated that nearly 70 percent of young adults ages 18-24 admit to not checking to verify that a site is secure before entering personal information. So what's the answer? The Australian authorities advocate schools step up the training to help students become more aware of how identity and credit card thieves operate. Using another third party payment site like PayPal is another option that individuals can use to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Anti-virus and firewalls are also very helpful in reducing the risk of fraud.  

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