How likely is it that you could lose your identity?


If your identity is hacked, it is usually because fraud is committed using social engineering techniques. Other people can hold your identity in their hands. If your bank has employees that seem over-fussy when it comes to authenticating you, then bless them and relax.

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the whole world. Simply carrying a credit card or a driverís license, or using a debit card in buying food, and making some online purchase can expose themselves to identity theft. Thieves are creating more sophisticated, advanced, and unpredictable methods of stealing personal information.
Identity theft happens when someone gains unauthorized access to valuable information and documents like credit cards, bank statements and utility bills and illegally uses the information to make unauthorized purchases.

[…] Studies show that the majority of people take anywhere from 175- 600 hours to restore their identity. This equals to four to five 40-hour workweeks. The worse thing is, one out of four victims never gets to restore it. This means that 25% of the victims remain so for the rest of their lives.

A story published by The Guardian is relatively benign as two people discover they have the same identity. Read it to find out what it is like to lose your identity in a world that does not care too much.

Unlike in the Guardian story, most shared identity scenarios are criminal. New Zealand penalties were increased in 2014.

Identity theft is to be outlawed with a fine of up to $10,000 under an overhaul of privacy laws.
The Government is to beef up the watchdog powers of the privacy commissioner. Organisations will also be required to report data breaches to the commissioner, and notify those affected in serious cases.
Penalty fines are to be increased and two new offences created.
Failing to notify the commissioner of a privacy breach or impersonating someone to obtain their personal information will be illegal and carry a fine of up to $10,000.
It will also be against the law to destroy documents containing personal information that a person has sought access to.


Yet in 2016 over 300, 000 Kiwis have had their identities stolen!

New Zealanders’ trustworthy natures have been exploited to the tune of $1 billion through identity theft and scams in the last 12 months.

More than 300,000 Kiwis have had their identities stolen in this year, with just under half suffering some sort of financial loss, according to IDCARE’s first report into identity compromise and misuse.


The Government has set up the “RealMe” system to help NZ citizens and it is important to take advantage of this service.
Other places have tougher laws eg “Under Colorado law, for example, identity theft can be punishable by up to 6 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and possible restitution to the victim or victims.”

This post was written by Intern Staff.

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