INDEPENDENT NEWS

Identity Thieves Active Over Christmas Season

Published: Tue 22 Dec 2009 11:21 AM
Identity Thieves Active Over Christmas Season And Summer Holidays
AUCKLAND , 3 January 2010 – New Zealanders are urged to be especially vigilant over the summer holiday period as identity thieves step up their activities.
New Zealand ’s largest credit reporting agency Veda Advantage, advises that the Christmas-New Year summer holiday period is a peak time for fraudsters and identity thieves.
Managing Director John Roberts says “it is the time of year when people are using their credit cards and ATMs more frequently and they are more relaxed and often less conscious about handing over their valuable identity information.”
Fraudsters and thieves most commonly find personal details in stolen wallets and cheque books or by stealing mail and then use this to commit fraud. For the person who has had their identity stolen this can mean not only the loss of large sums of money but damage to their financial reputation with long term consequences. It can result in someone else’s bad credit history ending up on their credit record and whilst that remains prevent them from obtaining credit in the future.
The experience in Australia is that one in five people over the age of 16 have reported that someone has either stolen their identity, illegally accessed or tried to access their bank accounts, stolen or skimmed credit cards or tried to steal their PIN.
In the United Stated an identity is stolen every two seconds.*
“Identity theft is on the rise in the 21st century and New Zealanders are yet to fully wise-up to just how easy it is to happen and how damaging it can be for them – they have to be on their guard at all times, Mr Roberts says.
New Zealand is just catching up with the rest of the world with stand alone identity theft insurance provided through CIGNA www.cignaidtheft.co.nz This works with Veda Advantage’s credit reports so that people can be notified by an Alert when a credit check is run against their name. The Insurance also provides assistance with credit identity restoration when required and financial help up to $10,000 for legal costs related to recovering your identity.
“This type of insurance means consumers are able to move more quickly to protect their identity if it is being claimed by a third party and used to apply for credit in their name– they can also preserve their Veda Score ,” Mr Roberts says.
*Note: Credit card and eftpos crime and identity theft is known to be on the rise but statistics are scant. NZ Police figures show that for the year 2008/2009 there were more than 7000 incidents of fraud and false pretences using credit and bank cards as well as credit by fraud.
About Veda Advantage – www.vedaadvantage.com
Veda Advantage facilitates credit reference checks for New Zealand ’s major banks and lenders, and underpins the ability of consumers to exercise choice in relation to consumer credit products. Veda Advantage holds files on around 97.5% of the individual credit-active population and 100% of the commercial credit-active population in New Zealand .
You can apply for a copy of your credit file at www.mycreditfile.co.nz or by calling 0800 692 733. A $23 express delivery service fee is payable if the file is needed urgently, or otherwise the file will be available within 10 working days.
ENDS

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