Australian businesses are placing their customers and staff at risk of identity fraud through the sloppy handling of sensitive personal information, Crime Stoppers Australia has warned.
Speaking ahead of National Identity Fraud Awareness Week, which runs from October 5 to 11, the chairman of Crime Stoppers Australia, Peter Price, urged businesses to treat customer applications and records as carefully as they would cash and pin numbers.
“We know of instances where organised criminals are paying accomplices’ money for every document they find from rummaging through the bins on business premises. The goal is to find personal financial details for use in identity theft.”
According to Peter Campbell, national marketing manager of Fellowes Australia, major sponsor of ID Fraud Awareness Week, businesses are inadvertently fuelling the boom in identity fraud, Australia’s fastest growing crime.
Half a million Australians have been the victim of identity fraud at an estimated cost of $1 billion, according to research released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last year. Nearly a quarter of those had their identities stolen.
“Too often we hear in the media of yet another business that has carelessly discarded highly sensitive customer and employee information,” Campbell said. “It is crucial that businesses educate their staff about the safe disposal of sensitive information.”
For more information on National Fraud Awareness Week, please visit www.stopIDtheft.com.au