One of the latest methods that fraudsters are using is so simple, it's simply frightening.
Every second all over the world a cyber fraud weapon is dumped in yet another city, town or village.
The crime then shows up on a map, looking like "the superhighway of cybercrime."More stories from Today Tonight
According to Australia’s number one cyber hunter Rob Forsyth, “the guys writing these, although completely evil and criminals, are quite clever."
Rob Forsyth from SOPHOS is a cyber-fraud hunter - one of the best in the world. His tracking system operates in every country, logging the activities of 120 million computers, searching for identity thieves and cyber fraudsters
So how does identity theft happen?
In an everyday suburban street, outside an everyday Australian home in the middle of the night, someone rifles through a paper recycling bin.
It’s a form of identity theft from which no suburb in the country is immune. A nightly epidemic where thieves are stealing our personal information right from under our noses, a drive-by fraud service waiting to be picked clean.
“They know, because it's public information which councils have pick-ups on which day, and whether it’s garden waste or recycled waste, and they will cruise through those streets in the middle of the night and go through the garbage bins," Forsyth said.
Two in five Australians put old bank statements and other key personal papers into recycling. Identity fraudsters will return over weeks, compiling piece by piece, until the jigsaw is complete, and then selling that abroad - dumped bank statements, credit card offers, phone bills, which already bear the person’s name and address.
"That waste paper is worth millions bto the right people," Crime Stoppers Australia CEO Peter Price said.
Recycling robbery is now his number one target in a national identity fraud awareness campaign being launched next Monday.
“In some instance there's a black market where people actually bid for this information, almost like an on-line auction, and they'll start using that information to buy stuff almost immediately," Price explained.
Once the information is stolen, your identity is shipped around the world in seconds, and that's when the cyber hunters come in.
Identity theft and cyber fraud cost Australia $8.5 billion every year. One in five Australians will be hit, more than four million people, and it's getting worse every day.
Iain White is proof that lightning can strike the same person twice. His identity was stolen from a bank statement and pay slip in his letterbox, and a credit card was ordered in his name before he knew it.
Soon after his legitimate card was skimmed, his identity was stolen yet again, and purchases racked up against his name in four hours.
“It's mind blowing. How does that happen,” White asked. “You fill up with petrol and then apparently you're buying things all over the world. it scares you.”
But there are ways to stop the identity thieves in their tracks, or at least slow them down.
“Certainly it would be pertinent for people if you throw out personal information to shred it," Detective Sergeant Ross Mitchell from the Fraud and Extortion Squad Victoria said.
He has this easy tip: “to put a lock on your letterbox to deter offenders stealing your mail, and just utilising common sense."
Peter Price from Crime Stoppers adds that “while you are being ad-hoc and flippant about your waste, somebody else is actually making a living out of it to conduct criminal activity."
National Identity Fraud Awareness Week begins next Monday and runs until Sunday October 23rd.Contact details
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