CRG 10/15-16: Addressing the needs of identity theft victims: A multidimensional view

Report to the Criminology Research Advisory Council

Identity credentials such as driver licences, passports and birth certificates have become essential for accessing various goods and services. Identity theft, or the compromise and misuse of this credential information, has far-reaching effects on individuals, businesses and government organisations alike. Despite the growth and impact of these crimes, little is known about the response system, its functions, dependencies and performance.

This research applies sociotechnical systems methodologies to address this knowledge gap and explore the characteristics of Australia’s identity theft response system from an individual victim’s perspective. The findings highlight that Australia's response system relies almost exclusively on individual victims to perform critical tasks relating to detection, disputation, protection and correction. The system also presents disjointed and at times conflicting responses. Significantly, the risk from the compromise and/or misuse of an individual's identity in large part endures. Overall, the Australian identity theft response system largely fails identity theft victims.