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Fears Of Identity Fraud On The Rise

Fears Of Identity Fraud On The Rise

Survey Shows New Zealanders Want to Use Fingerprint, Eye Scans and Other New Technology to Protect Their Personal Information and Finances

Unisys research shows high demand for greater security as fears of identity theft and financial fraud continue to rise

AUCKLAND, 26 November, 2008 – Five out of 10 New Zealanders are extremely or very concerned about the security of their financial transactions, up sharply according to the latest Unisys Security Index released today.

As a result, New Zealanders strongly support the introduction of new technologies to provide greater security for consumers’ data and finances.

In fact, more New Zealanders say they would be happy to use a fingerprint to enhance the security and protection against identity theft and financial fraud than a password or PIN.

“The level of concern about identity theft and financial fraud continues to rise in New Zealand,” said Mike Webber, Manager Enterprise Security for Unisys.

“More than half of those surveyed said their level of worry was either ‘very’ or ‘extreme’ when it came to the protection of their personal information or the protection of credit and debit card details,” he said.

Fifty-one percent of respondents said that they were extremely or very concerned about other people obtaining and using their credit and debit card details, up 8 percent since the last survey.

Forty-nine percent of New Zealanders say they are extremely or very concerned about unauthorised access to and misuse of their personal information which is 2 percent higher than last survey.

“These are sobering statistics, especially in the lead up to the holiday season when the sheer number of transactions taking place means that the risk of identity theft and financial fraud is elevated,” Mr Webber said.

“The current economic turmoil has highlighted the critical importance of consumer confidence and trust in maintaining economic stability.

“In our opinion, consumers will reward organisations that take the security of information and other personal assets seriously through ongoing patronage.  It is a customer loyalty issue,” he said.

Not surprisingly additional Unisys research shows that 97 percent of New Zealanders are willing to use one or more secure identity verifiers, including biometrics such as fingerprint and iris scans, to protect themselves and their information and finances.

The highest level of support is for the use of photographs with an estimated 73 percent of New Zealanders saying they would be willing to use this method to identify themselves to banks, government and other organisations.

Traditional ‘non-biometric’ identifiers such as PINS and passwords remain popular with 64 percent and 63 percent support respectively.

However, it is the technologically innovative solutions such as fingerprints and eye scans which show strong levels of support:

•            Fingerprint scan – 71 percent

•           Iris scan – 59 percent

•           Facial scan – 45 percent

•           Voice recording – 43 percent

•            Vascular scan – 36 percent


“The high level of concern about identity theft and financial fraud is of particular concern at a time when people are spending more in the lead up to Christmas,” Mr Webber said.

“Unisys recommends that New Zealanders take particular care to ensure that they are doing everything they can to protect themselves against identity related crime,” he said.

A series of tips can be found at www.unisyssecurityindex.co.nz which provides consumers and the public with easy to follow protection tips to ensure your personal information and finances remain safe.

The latest research reaffirms the findings of two years ago where New Zealanders overwhelmingly supported the use extra techniques to verify their identity, including fingerprints and photographs. 

“We now have a substantive body of research which clearly demonstrates New Zealanders want more secure means of protecting their assets and information and that they are happy to work with government, banks and other organisations to achieve this aim,” Mr Webber said.


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