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Identity crime in Australia

Report measuring identity crime in Australia

On 9 September 2015, the Minister for Justice and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter-Terrorism, the Hon Michael Keenan MP, released the report Identity Crime and Misuse in Australia 2013-14.

The report was developed by the Attorney-General’s Department in collaboration with the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), and in consultation with a range of relevant Australian and state and territory government agencies, under the auspices of the National Identity Security Strategy.

It follows the release of an earlier report on the findings of the National Identity Crime Measurement Framework Pilot in 2014, and draws on the findings of a 2014 online survey of 5,000 Australians conducted by the AIC.

The report indicates that identity crime continues to be one of the most common crimes in Australia. Estimating that the annual economic impact of identity crime exceeds $2 billion, the report also supports findings from the Australian Crime Commission that identity crime continues to be a key enabler of serious and organised crime. 

The report represents one of the most comprehensive attempts by any government worldwide to measure the impacts of identity crime and draws on data provided by 35 Australian, state and territory government agencies as well as input from the private sector. For a copy of the current and previous AIC survey reports, please visit the AIC website.

Identity crime and organised crime

Identity crime provides a foundation for many other forms of serious crime. Fraudulent identities may be used for money laundering, tax evasion, dealing in stolen motor vehicles, or to protect the true identities of organised crime members.

In addition to facilitating the commission of other offences, organised crime groups may also sell stolen identity information to other criminal networks. When a person has their identity stolen, they may experience repeated victimisation. In this way, organised crime groups can use fraudulent identities to cause considerable financial loss.

The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) rates identity crime as a key enabler of serious and organised crime, which costs Australia around $15 billion annually.