Sue, who wishes to be known only by her first name, lost AUD 80,000 (K179,000) when thieves managed to take her mobile phone number and use it to authorise bank transfers.
Her bank required a password, delivered by text message, before processing transfers.
“I was in Airlie Beach and I tried to ring my son and he didn’t return my call so I went back to my hotel and noticed my phone had ‘SOS only’ on it,” she said.
“I got my iPad to get on Facebook, opened up my mail and saw all these transfers — NetBank notification after NetBank notification.
“In that week I got 176 emails of people purchasing stuff — $4,000 at Apple in Perth, JB Hifi in Brisbane.
“I thought I’ll ring Telstra and they said you just cancelled your phone and transferred to another carrier. It was Optus.
“We don’t know how it happened — we presume the driver’s licence. When they opened the Optus account they had my driver’s licence number. I haven’t lost my bag, I haven’t lost anything. All I can think of is that I never got my (licence) renewal in the mail.”
Dr Lacey said there are simple security measures people can take to protect themselves, such as changing their passwords regularly and using anti-virus software.
For help and counselling click on this link: IDCARE
Operating out of a demountable building on the University of the Sunshine Coast campus is IDCARE, the only free helpline for Australian and New Zealand victims of identity fraud.
IDCARE is made up of about 20 staff — some of them volunteers — and it is funded by contributions from industry and the Federal Government.