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    New Zealand Sees Surge in Identity Theft

    According to the New Zealand Herald, “Nine hundred cases of identity fraud uncovered in the past 12 months are just the tip of the iceberg say police intelligence experts, worried at a surge in the crime.” “[P]olice here have discovered around 900 separate incidents relating to 400 identities.” A law enforcement official said, “Experience tells us these numbers are a fraction of the real volume of activity regularly occurring in New Zealand.”

    Recent reports have shown that identity theft is on the rise in a number of countries. A 2007 Federal Trade Commission report (pdf) estimated 8.3 million victims in 2005 (the last year for which numbers are available). Last year, Australia’s Privacy Commissioner said her office’s survey found one in 10 Australians claimed to be the victim of identity theft. I previously blogged about identity theft in the UK here. The UK Information Privacy Commissioner has urged “organisations which process personal information take their data protection responsibilities seriously. They should take appropriate steps to keep the personal information they hold secure.”

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