4528.0 - Personal Fraud, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/04/2016   
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IDENTITY THEFT

HOW MANY AUSTRALIANS EXPERIENCED IDENTITY THEFT? (Tables 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

In the 12 months prior to survey in 2014-15, an estimated 126,300 Australians experienced identity theft, or 0.7% of the population aged 15 years and over. The majority experienced a single incident only (103,400 or 82% of all identity theft victims).

Due to changes in the survey questionnaire wording regarding experience of identity theft, data from 2014-15 are not comparable with those from 2010-11.

WHO EXPERIENCED IDENTITY THEFT? (Table 8)

In the 12 months prior to survey, persons aged 25 to 34 were most likely to experience identity theft (1.0% or 33,700 persons in that age group) whilst persons aged 55 years and over were the least likely (0.4% or 25,900 persons in that age group).

Unmarried persons were more likely than married persons to experience identity theft (0.9% or 65,200 persons compared to 0.5% or 57,600 persons aged 15 and over).

Persons with a degree, diploma, or higher qualification were more likely than persons with no non-school qualification to experience identity theft (0.8% or 48,900 persons compared to 0.5% or 42,200 persons aged 15 and over).

WHAT HAPPENED IN THE MOST RECENT INCIDENT OF IDENTITY THEFT?

How was identity information stolen in the most recent incident? (Table 10)

Of the persons who experienced identity theft in the five years prior to survey in 2014-15, over one-quarter (27% or 90,100) had their personal details stolen over the internet (including 5% via social media, 8% via email and 14% in another way via the internet), whilst one in ten (10% or 34,700) had their personal details obtained in person. A quarter of victims (26% or 87,300) were not aware of how their personal details were stolen.

How was stolen identity information used in the most recent incident? (Table 10)

Around one in twelve persons who experienced identity theft in the five years prior to the survey (18% or 61,400) had their personal information used to apply for a loan or gain credit.

How did people find out about their most recent incident of identity theft? (Table 10)

Just under one in four persons who experienced identity theft in the five years prior to the survey (23% or 77,600) became aware that their personal details had been stolen after receiving a notification or query from a government agency or authority, whilst a further 12% (38,700) became aware after receiving a bill from a business or company.

Was the most recent incident of identity theft reported? (Table 10)

Half of all persons who experienced identity theft in the five years prior to the survey reported the most recent incident to an authority (51% or 172,300), including to a business (57,900), police (55,200), and the issuer of the document (47,900).

Graph Image for Persons who experienced identity theft in the last five years, authority most recent incident reported to(a), Australia

Footnote(s): (a) Incident may have been reported to more than one authority so components may not add to 100%. (b) Includes consumer affairs/ombudsman and other authorities.

Source(s): Persons who experienced identity theft in the last five years, authority most recent incident reported to(a), Australia-Authority most recent incident of identity theft reported to


How much was lost in the most recent incident? (Table 10)

Of the persons who experienced identity theft in the five years prior to the survey, one in three estimated they had lost, at the time of survey, less than one hour of their time due to the incident (33% or 111,100), 37% (125,000) estimated they had lost between one to eight hours, and one in five (19% or 63,800) estimated they had lost more than eight hours.

Four in five persons who experienced identity theft (81% or 272,500) were still finalising issues relating to the most recent incident at the time of the survey.

Around one in ten persons who experienced identity theft (11% or 37,500) lost money as a result of their most recent experience.

HOW DID BEHAVIOUR CHANGE AFTER EXPERIENCING IDENTITY THEFT? (Table 10)

Just under half of persons who experienced identity theft (46% or 156,500) changed their behaviour as a result of all incidents experienced. This included:

  • becoming more careful or aware (115,300)
  • changing credit card details (25,500)
  • changing email address (20,600)
  • changing payment methods (21,000)
  • becoming more apprehensive or withdrawn (15,100)
  • and changing or installing internet security (12,300).


Graph Image for Persons who experienced identity theft in the last five years, how behaviour has changed(a), Australia

Footnote(s): (a) Persons may have changed their behaviour in more than one way. (b) Includes stopped engaging, ignored, or no longer dealt with organisation or person; became more apprehensive or withdrawn; and other.

Source(s): Persons who experienced identity theft in the last five years, how behaviour has changed(a), Australia-How behaviour has changed as a result of identity theft incidents