Research has highlighted the rise of identity theft as a major concern among householders, with Australians more worried about having personal records stolen than cash, jewellery or even home entertainment equipment in the event of a break-in.
According to ADT Security’s inaugural Secure Homes Report, which surveyed 2000 homeowners and renters in both metropolitan and regional Australia about their attitudes towards residential safety and security, 60% of respondents cited identity theft as a key concern - an almost equal number to those that cited property theft and vandalism (62%) and violence towards themselves or family members (61%).
Identity theft is described as the crime of stealing someone's personal, identifying information and using it fraudulently. This information might include credit card and banking account numbers, birth certificates, usernames, passwords, and patient records. Widely recognised as one of fastest growing types of crimes, identity theft has been estimated by the NSW Crimes Commission to cost Australia more than $3.5 billion annually.
“A home break-in can be a frightening experience for any homeowner or tenant and the effects can be long lasting”, said Mark Norton, Managing Director of ADT Security Australia. “A person’s identity is their most valuable possession but with people storing more and more personal information and records at home and on personal laptops, the opportunity for identity theft is increasing.”
Respondents identified personal records (75%) and personal computers/laptops (69%) as the two items they would be most concerned about being stolen. Gen Y is most concerned about the theft of their personal computer/laptop (74%).
Jewellery (38%), cash (33%), cameras (28%) and home theatre equipment (22%), typically viewed as the most attractive items for burglars to steal, featured much further down the list.
Norton encourages householders to take extra precautions to ensure that their homes are secured and that their personal records stay personal.
“To avoid information getting into the wrong hands, hard copy personal records should be kept in safe or secured areas and documents containing private information should be shredded. Laptop theft is a growing concern so, in addition to keeping sensitive data password protected and backed up, laptop users should become aware of the various software security solutions available.”
According to the research, the majority of Australians are aware of the need for home security, with 93% utilising the trusted lock and key approach. Typically however, more advanced solutions are only used by those who have previously been the victim of a break-in.
“It’s the case of once bitten, twice shy, with 65% of break-in victims reporting they upgraded their security measures following an incident”, said Norton.
As an additional measure, he recommends homeowners and renters consider a monitored home alarm system.
“Monitored alarms have been shown to be one of the most effective home security measures as they act as a visual deterrent, help to offer a high level of protection and give people confidence that they will receive a professional response to an activated alarm - whether they are at home or not.
“Traditionally, wired alarm security systems were a preferred option for people who own their own home, however, there are now also portable, IP based, wireless monitored alarm systems available for renters and the fast growing number of households without fixed landlines.”
ABOUT THE SURVEY
ADT Security commissioned leading online market research panel Pure Profile to conduct this survey of 2000 homeowners and renters around Australia during October 2010. For the purposes of the research, the generations are grouped as follows: Generation Y (born 1980-1994), Generation X (born 1965-1979), Baby Boomers (born 1946 -1964) and Builders (born before 1946).
ABOUT ADT SECURITY
With more than a century’s worth of experience, ADT Security is the world’s largest electronic security company, providing electronic security solutions to more than nine million residential, commercial and retail customers worldwide. ADT Security’s products include alarm systems and integrated security applications that link access control, CCTV, electronic article surveillance and source tagging systems. www.adtsecurity.com.au
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