Media Release: Early detection prevents identity fraud

16 November 2016

The Hon Alan Tudge MP

Minister for Human Services

Today the Minister for Justice, Michael Keenan, released the Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia (ICAMIA) Annual Report regarding the economic and social impacts of identity crime.

In the last year of the Labor Government (2012-2013) there were 218 cases of successful identity fraud detected by the Department of Human Services (DHS) resulting in investigations worth $8 million. This has been significantly reduced under the Coalition Government to just 12 investigations this year worth $300,000.

Our Government has put in place a number of measures that are preventing identity fraud from happening and we are seeing a huge reduction in the number of successful identity crimes against DHS as a result.

These early preventative actions are saving taxpayer’s dollars and enabling the Department to focus on tackling the more complex, elaborate and difficult to uncover fraud cases.

We have implemented the use of the Document Verification Service (DVS) which has reduced the opportunity for false identities to be created and prevented fraud attempts.

The use of DVS enables us to verify identity documents supplied by a customer with the relevant issuing authority to ensure their identity is legitimate.

In addition to DVS, we are using sophisticated data matching analysis. The data analysis process helped detect a 70-year-old Queensland man who claimed a second Age Pension and Disability Support Pension using a fabricated identity. The man pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming over $199,000 and was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

We also identified that an emerging risk for identity fraud was the hijacking of payments online. To combat this we have invested in capability that detects and prevents this type of identity fraud in real time.

This new capability has been particularly successful and led to the disruption of 56 attempts to redirect payments by assuming a customer’s identity over the last 12 months.

These discreet preventive measures combined with the high profile work of Taskforce Integrity are working to reduce the incidence and severity of identity fraud committed against DHS and subsequently on tax payers.

Media contact: Rachelle Miller 0475 804 886