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  • 7 October 2008 16:10

VeCommerce Launches Top Ten List of Personal Security Breaches In Lead Up to National ID Fraud Awareness Week

VeCommerce has issued a wake up call for Australians to remain cautious in handling their personal identity security.

Sydney, 7 October 2008

In the lead up to National ID Fraud Awareness Week, commencing on October 13, VeCommerce, one of the world’s leading innovators in the provision of speaker verification solutions and voice self-service, has issued a wake up call for Australians to remain cautious in handling their personal identity security.

According to the latest results from a new Australian Bureau of Statistics survey on identity fraud, close to $1 billion is stolen annually from Australians as a result of poor protection of personal details. The same survey also found that 87 per cent of Australians are concerned about identity fraud while almost three quarters of the population provided sufficient personal information to put them at risk.

To help individuals and businesses take stock of the current risk threat situation, VeCommerce’s list of recent personal security breaches is a timely reminder of the security issues facing individuals. These breaches included:

1. Data thieves who broke into the computer system of a supermarket chain, stealing 4.2 million credit and debit card details.

2. 38,000 credit cards were compromised when the website of an e-tailer was hacked.

3. A hacker breached the security system of an international hotel chain and stole the personal details, including home addresses, phone numbers, place of employment and credit card information, of eight million people that had stayed with the hotel during the past 12 months.

4. The personal details of 25 million people were compromised when two discs containing the information compiled by a government department were lost in the post.

5. The details of thousands of prisoners were left on a memory stick which was stolen from an unlocked desk of a consultant working for an organisation contracted to the prison service.

6. A computer containing the personal details of millions of people was sold on an auction site. The computer had belonged to a data processing company and had been sold without being cleaned.

7. A Navy officer had his car broken into and his laptop stolen. The computer contained over 500,000 military records including financial details and passport numbers.

8. A government department lost the details of three million learner drivers when a disc containing their personal information was mislaid in a foreign country.

9. A major financial institution lost the records of over 350,000 of its customers when a disc containing the information was lost in the post between two offices.

10. Jeremy Clarkson, talk show host of the UK program, “Top Gear” claimed that no one could debit money from his bank account after he publicised his bank account numbers. Shortly afterwards, someone had accessed the account and made a £500 direct debit to charity and the host ran for cover!

“Complacency has no place when it comes to personal ID security, particularly with many individuals relying on basic PINs, passwords and easily available secret information to protect their data. However, what is most worrying is the fact that most data breaches go unnoticed for many months. National ID Fraud Awareness Week is a great opportunity for the community to be reminded of the risks inherent in providing personal details to third parties,” said Paul Magee, Managing Director, VeCommerce.

A survey conducted on behalf of VeCommerce earlier this year found that almost half (47%) of respondents preferred organisations to use a fairly complex process with fairly high security for identification while 17% preferred a very complex process with very high security. Only 2% of respondents wanted a simple or fairly simple process. The same survey found that 52% of respondents believed answering a personal details or history question when confirming their identity over the phone meant their details were vulnerable to theft.

About VeCommerce

VeCommerce assists organisations deliver exceptional customer interactions. This is achieved through a detailed analysis of existing customer processes and the development and provision of applications that utilise speech recognition, voice biometrics and other related interaction technologies.

VeCommerce has developed voice self-service solutions since 1998 and today is one of the most experienced and successful application developers and systems integrators in the industry focusing on automated and scalable voice enabled caller identification and verification (ID&V) solutions.

The company’s focus on research and development and provision of best-of-breed business solutions delivery has rewarded the organisation with a number of industry innovations, including: the first project to develop an Australia/New Zealand phonetic language model, the world's first natural language wagering solution launched commercially, and the first voice self-service real-time credit card bill payment system.

Customers include AAPT, Australian Health Management, BOC Gases, Pizza Hut, Standard Life, Suncorp, St George Bank, TABCorp, TelstraClear and the Inland Revenue Department (New Zealand). The company has offices in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US.

For further information, please visit

About National Identity Fraud Awareness Week 2008 (

National Identity Fraud Awareness Week commences 13th October and is a joint initiative of Crimestoppers Australia, the Australian Taxation Office, data storage and security experts Fellowes Australia, and credit check specialists Veda Advantage.

The purpose of the week is to help raise awareness of this devastating crime and to warn the community. They need to be careful of who they provide their information to, lock their mailbox and install online security software.

For further information please visit or call Catriona McGauchie @ Communicado 0428 368 371 or 03 9522 9944

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