Identity theft: young people at risk

As technology moves forward, there is often concern about older generations being left behind.

So why are young Australians the least likely to protect themselves online?

A recent study of more than 20,000 people in 12 countries within the Asia-Pacific region found Australians were second only to Singaporeans in their concern for online privacy, but younger people are least likely to protect themselves.

The study by market research firm IBI Partners, found only 39 per cent of Australians aged between 18 and 30 took active measures to prevent online security breaches.

Ballarat Police Proactive Unit Senior Constable Janine Walker said young people needed to take care with their personal information online.

“ID theft is a major issue and concern within the community and young people are not exempt from becoming a victim when it comes to e-crime matters,” she said.

“In today’s hectic world, convenience is in high demand and sometimes taken for granted, safety must also be a consideration.”

Senior Constable Walker said opportunistic criminals make a living from people being complacent about online security. 

The Ballarat Police Proactive Unit has issued a checklist for Ballarat residents to better protect themselves online.

• Ensure passwords are changed at regular intervals, on all social media and internet sites. 

• Don’t leave sites open for others to explore whilst you’re not aware. 

• Secure wifi connections. 

• Computers, mobile phones, ipads should be password-protected to prevent identification theft. 

• Not everyone on the internet is who he or she may seem to be.

David Freer, the Asia-Pacific vice-president of anti-virus company Norton by Symantec, told Fairfax that people were too comfortable sharing and storing their passwords and banking details on their mobile phone.

He said phones could be stolen or lost and social media networks could be interfered with.

Mr Freer said research this year showed 40 per cent of Australian mobile phone owners did not have passwords on their phones.

“We’re seeing all the scams we used to see five years ago – don’t open an email attachment from someone you don’t know – all being reborn because people are getting what they think is a link from a friend and getting infected (by computer viruses),” he said.