Former Federal Police officer sets the scene on ID theft

AT THIS exact moment, you could be doing something that puts you at risk of identity theft.

Sharing personal details on Facebook.

Not updating online passwords.

Letting security lapse on mobile phones.

They are all seemingly minor things, but they could lead to identity theft.

Which is why almost one million Australians are victims every year.

Dr Dave Lacey, a former federal police officer who now lives on the Coast, said many victims didn't know how they had become victims and it was one of the most complex crimes to investigate.

"Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes globally," Dr Lacey said.

"I think Australia is a target for criminals that are proficient in identity crime.

"Australians' uptake of online services, our comparatively high standard of living, and our willingness to give things a go make our community an attractive target for identity criminals."

He said it was not like getting your car stolen, because once your identity was gone you don't get it back.

Dr Lacey worked in national security and national law enforcement for more than 15 years. He spent most of this time pursuing criminals responsible for perpetrating identity crime.

He saw an opportunity to use government funding and his expertise to assist victims of crime and 13 months ago iDcare was born.

The not-for-profit charity operates a toll-free national hotline to help people in many situations, whether it is lost wallets, stolen passports or hacking of personal or business computers.

In the creation of iDcare Dr Lacey conducted focus groups across rural Queensland and heard on many occasions people say they would never use the internet again, but he warned this was not the answer.

"We could all chose not to use the internet at all, but that doesn't mean our details won't be online," Dr Lacey said. "The advice we give to people is to think twice about what you put online."

Dr Lacey is a guest speaker at the next Caloundra Chamber of Commerce Smart Lunch Club event. For chamber members to attend visit http://www.caloundrachamber.com.au.

If you feel you are at riskof identity theft visit www.idcare.org.

Prevention

Ensure you have strong passwords and you change them monthly

Update security on your computer, mobile, laptap and tablet at least once a month

Check your transaction records regularly

Keep your documents locked securely at home

Never open or click on emails you don't recognise

Be wary of what you put online

Check your credit card history regularly

Talk about identity theft



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