identity theft

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now
Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else's identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person's name, and perhaps to the other person's disadvantage or loss. The person whose identity has been assumed may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another's personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. The term identity theft was coined in 1964. Since that time, the definition of identity theft has been statutorily defined throughout both the U.K. and the United States as the theft of personally identifiable information, generally including a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources.Determining the link between data breaches and identity theft is challenging, primarily because identity theft victims often do not know how their personal information was obtained, and identity theft is not always detectable by the individual victims, according to a report done for the FTC. Identity fraud is often but not necessarily the consequence of identity theft. Someone can steal or misappropriate personal information without then committing identity theft using the information about every person, such as when a major data breach occurs. A US Government Accountability Office study determined that "most breaches have not resulted in detected incidents of identity theft". The report also warned that "the full extent is unknown". A later unpublished study by Carnegie Mellon University noted that "Most often, the causes of identity theft is not known", but reported that someone else concluded that "the probability of becoming a victim to identity theft as a result of a data breach is ... around only 2%". More recently, an association of consumer data companies noted that one of the largest data breaches ever, accounting for over four million records, resulted in only about 1,800 instances of identity theft, according to the company whose systems were breached.An October 2010 article entitled "Cyber Crime Made Easy" explained the level to which hackers are using malicious software. As Gunter Ollmann,
Chief Technology Officer of security at Microsoft, said, "Interested in credit card theft? There's an app for that." This statement summed up the ease with which these hackers are accessing all kinds of information online. The new program for infecting users' computers was called Zeus; and the program is so hacker-friendly that even an inexperienced hacker can operate it. Although the hacking program is easy to use, that fact does not diminish the devastating effects that Zeus (or other software like Zeus) can do to a computer and the user. For example, the article stated that programs like Zeus can steal credit card information, important documents, and even documents necessary for homeland security. If the hacker were to gain this information, it would mean identity theft or even a possible terrorist attack. The ITAC says that about 15 million Americans had their identity stolen in 2012.

View More On
  1. Ameliafranklin

    NSW My dad won't give me my birth certificate, I have insufficient ID to apply for a new one.

    I need to access my birth certificate however my father refuses to order me a new one. I am 16, I do not live with him and my carers are not my legal guardians. My mother is dead and my father has not allowed me to contact her family. I have a Medicare card and an expired passport but no other...
  2. N

    NSW Help with Debt Collection and Car Repair Recovery?

    Hello, I am the at-fault driver when my car put a small hole in another car's bumper bar. Contact details were exchanged. I do not have insurance beyond CTP. After approx 7 months without being contacted by the other driver's insurance company to discuss quotes, I missed 2 unidentified phone...
  3. mkr

    VIC Fraudulent Transactions by Hotel with Visa Card - Options?

    Hi there, I recently checked my bank account and spotted a string of transactions 'pending' to a Hotel in PNG. I had not been in PNG for 18+ months, and the card used had been issued to me since that time. I still had the Card in my possession. In the week prior, there were near $2000 worth of...
  4. JasF

    NSW Recourse for Identity Theft?

    I had a call from the police this week regarding fraud that has been committed in my name. My identity has been stolen and used to obtain a credit card with a $30k limit. Police are investigating, and I think it may be my real estate agent. I recently moved so had to provide this new real...
  5. N

    WA Why is a vehicle still be in my name, years after repossession?

    Hi I received an Infringement Notice yesterday for something that happened in Victoria 4 months ago. I live in WA and have not been in Victoria for 13 years. I was given the fine amount of $155, the number plate and the offence in the Infringement Notice. It was for driving a vehicle in a...
  6. W

    NSW Suspected of Identity Theft by Police - What to Do?

    Hello, Just wondering - If you're caught in the act of a minor offence (vandalism/posters/pen), then questioned and detained because you provided your name/address but your ID was not ''suitable'', and then you're suspected of being someone else because of surname/stealing credit card or...
  7. M

    VIC Signed Up for Red Cross Course - Identity Theft?

    Hi, From about 2 months, I signed for a first aid course in Red Cross but it's not really a course. The manager said it's for refugees and we just need to sign our name and the government will give us 200$, so I did and I took 200$. Also there are a lot of people who did the same thing and he...
  8. I

    QLD Ex Using My Phone Number Without Consent - Identity Theft?

    My ex has been signing up to various company sites (credit cards, charities, insurance, telemarketers, etc, etc) and giving them my phone number without my consent. These companies in turn will call my mobile relentlessly to try and sign me up. For some reason, she registers for a callback...
  9. J

    VIC Credit Card Identity Theft - What to Do Under Criminal Law?

    Hello everyone, I have a friend who got a phone call from NAB Security a few days before, asking if he has withdrawn any cash from an ATM from a credit card. He informed the person that he does not have any account with NAB. The person called him up the next day and informed him that somebody...
  10. S

    WA Property Law and Lease Dispute with Real Estate Agency

    The real estate agency I had to use in order to lease a residential property had a court order issued to evict using an address which wasn't on the lease, and, in fact, does not exist. Unfortunately, a case of who do you believe for the magistrate. Bond disposal time and the real estate agency...