Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Goal: Reduce identity theft by 15%
Date started: 6th October 2015
Goal Completion Date: 6th October 2016
Situation Description: Identity theft is an increasing threat to local Sydney-siders. This type of criminal office generates significant profit for thieves and causes considerable financial losses to the Sydney community.
Recent estimates by Australia’s Attorney-General’s Department indicates that $900 million is lost each year by individuals through credit card fraud, identity thefts and scams.
According to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, in 2014 “Stealing from a dwelling” was one of the few criminal categories that saw an increase over two years. This was found to be mainly attributed to mail theft.
Mailboxes have become a common target for thieves. Most criminals find that breaking into mailboxes relatively simple.
In some cases, criminals have managed to get a master key for an apartment block, giving them easy access to all resident mailboxes
In Sydney, North Sydney and Hornsby saw an increase of 37.5% in offences. Ryde saw an increase in identity theft by 45%.
Research has found that most people did not take even the most basic measures to protect themselves against identity theft. These measures include putting a secure lock on their mailbox, shredding mail, and properly securing important documents in a lockbox within their homes.
The personal details obtained from mail have been used to access mobile phone accounts, bank accounts, health funds, insurance funds and more.
The impact is that many victims don’t fully recover from the implications of identity theft.
Actions: In order to decrease the amount of identity theft there are three areas that we need to focus on. These are community awareness, community education and preventative action.
The steps we will take include:
- Working with print media and television media to raise awareness of the increase of identity theft.
- Creating a social media campaign to raise awareness of identity theft.
- The creation and promotion of online education resources to combat identity theft.
- Work with local councils to create in-house education programs for elderly citizens commonly targeted by identity theft.
- Partnering with local locksmiths in Sydney to ensure the security of letterboxes, apartment blocks, and installation of home safes and locks.
- Provide simple to follow guides for victims to follow if they suspect their identity has been stolen.
With these actions, we are confident we will halt the increase of identity theft and start to reduce its impact in Sydney