The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research has confirmed what we already knew. In 2016, fraud offences had risen 3.4% since 2012. That may not sound like much until you consider that the number of recorded incidents in 2016 was a whopping 49,968- a number that hides the true extent of what is an epidemic as it is only the incidents that were reported.
The majority of the crimes recorded were credit card fraud using skimming devices, and identity fraud. Newtown Crime Prevention Officer, Senior Constanble John Tikisci said this kind of fraud was one of the only crimes on the rise.
“People don't have to break into people’s homes or do armed robberies when they can go and steal credit cards from letterboxes.” Many of our identification cards are sent through the mail, and if a criminal targets your letterbox, they could easily accrue the required 100 points of identification necessary to steal your identity. It is not just NSW Police who are being frustrated by the exponential rise in fraud; WA and Victoria Police have lobbied to have RFID enabled credit cards banned because of the rise in fraud and identity crime in those states.
Detective Chief Inspector Matt Craft of the Fraud and Cybercrime Squad: “This isn’t a problem we can arrest our way out of. Ten to 15 years ago these criminals would have been doing break and enters but now have migrated to fraud and identity crime.”
“Essentially it is easier for them and less risky.”
The cost of fraud is shared by banks reimbursing victims, the taxpayer who must foot the bill for the surge in police investigations in fraud cases, and the community who are less safe because overstretched police have less time to stop crimes that are more dangerous like domestic violence. As is always the case, however, the victim bears the brunt of the negative impacts- not only are they out of pocket but they may be blacklisted on their credit card at no fault of their own, or even wanted for crimes committed by criminals assuming the victim’s stolen identity. Don’t let this be you! To keep your identity personal, as it should be, the Skim Guard team recommend that you take these simple measures that go a long way in keeping you secure:
- Organise for all important documents and cards to be sent through registered mail, which you have to sign for. If you are not at home at the time of delivery, the cards will be kept safe at your nearest post office; not left in your letterbox at the mercy of identity thieves. Sen-Constable John Tikisci recommends this measure, stating “I personally would be happy to wear the fee of getting my card delivered by registered mail if the bank didn't want to incur the cost.”
- Secure your RFID enabled credit cards, identity cards, and passport, by keeping a Skim Guard Active in your wallet and passport wallet, or by keeping these personal documents in a special purpose Passport Wallet or RFID Wallet designed to block skimmers’ attacks. According to FIDIS, an EU funded research group of IT security experts, a shielding cover like Passport Wallet is the only way to protect the private data stored on your passport.
- Protect your data by keeping your smartphone and credit cards in a Cool Case.