Identity theft: The not-so-silly side of the season

by Mackenzie McCarty03 Dec 2012

As credit scams appear to increase in the lead-up to Christmas, MyCRA CEO Graham Doessel is warning consumers that scammers are not just after the money in their bank accounts – they’re after their financial identity.

Doessel says consumers need to be wary of the opportunities fraudsters may take to misuse their personal information.

“Scams and other fraud attempts are becoming much more sophisticated as profits get more lucrative. Many fraudsters are into building a profile of their victim, extracting layers of information which allows them to access credit in the victim’s name, including loans and properties.”

Doessel’s warning follows Australian Banker’s Association (ABA) announcements reporting a telephone scam where fraudsters were impersonating the ABA and offering instructions on how to obtain a ‘refund’ for overcharged bank fees, as reported by Australian Broker Online.

Doessel says the bank refund phone scam has been added to a long list of scam attempts running over the past few months, and says many more could emerge as Christmas approaches.

He says sometimes people don’t know they have been a victim until after they apply for credit and are refused.

“By that time, it is such a struggle to recover your good name. For an identity theft victim to have a chance at removing bad credit history, you must prove you didn’t initiate the credit in the first place. This can be difficult if the scam happened months or years before,” he says.