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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 57

(Question No. 3137)

Mr Langmore asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 12 February 1986:

(1) What statistical collections or other sources of information are available on the extent of crime involving the use of credit, cash and other plastic cards.

(2) What does the information show about the incidence of credit and cash card crime.

(3) How is such crime classified and what is the incidence of each type.

(4) What methods are being used to prevent or discourage credit and cash card crime.

Mr Young —The answer to the honourable member's question, based on advice from the Australian Federal Police (AFP), is as follows:

(1)-(3) Statistics on crime involving the use of credit, cash and other plastic cards are not available as all offences involving abuse of such cards are categorised as theft.

(4) Most credit card fraud results from the theft of credit cards. In this instance, the only preventative method is to increase the awareness of the community towards the security of such cards. I am advised that in the ACT the AFP endeavours to do this through the media (e.g. the Police column in The Canberra Times) and through addresses to groups and professional and community organisations.

In the course of inquiries into credit card theft from letter boxes, the AFP has informally suggested to financial institutions that prospective cardholders be required to attend the institution, produce adequate identification and sign for receipt of the card. The AFP has also suggested to banks, building societies and credit unions that they:

(1) not allow withdrawals of uncleared funds through Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs); (2) require adequate identification before opening accounts; and (3) not allow withdrawals from ATMs which overdraw the accounts. The honourable member will appreciate, however, that decisions regarding the adoption of these measures ultimately rest with the financial institutions themselves.

Further, the Government recently endorsed the new procedures recommended by the Working Group Examining the Rights and Obligations of the Users and Providers of Electronic Funds Transfer Systems. These voluntary procedures, which are aimed at protecting the users of ATMs, have the support of major bank and non-bank financial institutions in Australia. The Working Group will monitor the implementation of these procedures and will advise the Government whether more formal arrangements, including legislation, would be warranted.