The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a mid-year update outlining the potential costs and reach of identity theft scams in 2019 to date.

According to the ACCC, reported scams involving identity theft or the loss of personal or banking information has cost Australians at least $16 million this year, a figure that is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.

And 40% of Scamwatch reports received involve the attempt to gain, or the loss of, a victim's identity information.

As brokers have access to a customer's identity, financial and other types of personal information, it is extremely important to always be vigilant of scams, where you or your business may be the target, or where your customer may be the target.

The ACCC reports that some of the methods scammers use to obtain personal or banking information are:

• phishing emails and text messages which impersonate banks or utility providers seeking your login details
• fake online quizzes and surveys
• fake job advertisements
• remote access scams in which the scammer has direct access to everything on your computer
• sourcing information about you from social media platforms
• direct requests for scans of your driver’s licence or passport, often in the course of a dating and romance scam.

No one is really selling an iPhone for $1, or rewarding the completion of a survey with expensive electronic goods or large gift vouchers. They’re scams to get your valuable personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

"Lost personal information also leaves victims more susceptible to future scams. Scammers will use the victim’s personal information to seem more convincing in cold calls," according to the ACCC.

Read more here.