Am I who I say I am? a systems analysis into identity fraud in New Zealand
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The purpose of this thesis was to research the systems issues surrounding identity fraud in New Zealand. There is only limited published research on the topic, either at an academic or industry level. The New Zealand Government has been conducting work in identity fraud in recent times but New Zealand appears to be lagging behind other similar westernised countries in terms of developing specific identity fraud policy or legislative provisions. The research showed that New Zealand does have serious problems in its systems, which in some cases facilitate identity fraud. There is a lack of synchronicity between New Zealand Government systems which undermines a whole of government approach to minimising the risk of identity fraud. Issues in the private sector with identity fraud are just as serious, with financial advantage being one of the main reasons that identity fraud is committed. However, the lack of information sharing between the public and private sectors does not help stem the flow of identity fraud that is currently occurring. Finding policy solutions to combat identity fraud is far from being simplistic. Public policy in this area is fraught with social, political and financial implications. Identity fraud is committed with speed while public policy faces a slow battle with red tape. Nonetheless, the New Zealand Government does not even appear to categorically know what is happening on its own door step with respect to identity fraud. There are no statistics on identity fraud and no concrete figures as to the cost of identity fraud to New Zealand. To compound problems, identity fraud is not even an official offence classification so even when it is occurring, it is not always being recorded. The damage resulting from identity fraud can be catastrophic. Identity fraud is a breeder crime for other offences. It can enable an act of terrorism to occur, women and children to be trafficked, and organisations and individuals to suffer serious financial loss. In New Zealand however, the benefits of identity fraud can be great while the deterrents are weak. New Zealand faces potential harm to its international reputation if its systems are not strengthened to fight identity fraud. In order for this to occur, New Zealand needs to develop a specific identity fraud policy so that it has the basic knowledge in place to allocate the necessary resources to this problem.