Personal fraud costs Australians more than one billion dollars

Safeguard yourself this Privacy Awareness Week

Personal fraud cost Australians $1.4 billion in 2010-11, according to the latest survey from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Given more than 60 per cent of small businesses are unincorporated entities - meaning that there is no definitive distinction between a business and its owner - personal fraud is a real and costly threat to a significant proportion of the small business community.

The ABS survey found three in five victims of personal fraud lost an average of $2000 each, with credit card fraud being the most common amongst Australians with nearly four per cent of Australians victims of credit card fraud. This was up from 2.4 per cent in 2007.

Scams were the next most common type of fraud with nearly three per cent, or 514,500 people, falling into this category. These figures indicate only the number of people who responded to the fraud - those who were exposed to scams totalled 6.4 million in 2010-11.

Identity theft was the third most popular type of scam and around 44,700 Australians fell into this category. However, 12 per cent of victims discovered their identity was being compromised through a credit check, which can alert the consumer to any irregularities in his/her credit history. This can also allow the consumer to verify that the information contained within the report is accurate and true, and correct any information believed to be false.

Given the varying forms of personal fraud and the increasing sophistication of many of them, Australians and small businesses should take concrete steps to safeguard themselves.

Check your credit report and lower your risk of personal fraud >>

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