Bank Details Alert

Reporter: Bryan Seymour

The market for personal information is now one of the most lucrative for thieves and criminals.We've discovered a website with thousands of Australian credit card owners posted card details and personal information - ready for anyone to use. The website is a blog site based somewhere in Asia. And this is a list of 1300 Australians from all over the country with their credit card numbers, names, addresses and email and mobile phone numbers.

"I'm very scared that my home address is on the website, with my name, they know where I live, it's very scary," said Emma Perry, a 21yo student from Sydney. "I've never even given my credit card details to my family, let alone a third party that I don't even know," Perry said.

Emma last year bought some books online for her mother. Soon after, she was making purchases overseas that she didn't know about."Last year in November I got a call from the bank asking whether I'd made a purchase in the US recently which I hadn't, and they immediately cancelled my credit card," Perry said."I was quite startled; I didn't know what to say... I didn't know what to say when she (our producer) first told me... just disbelief," said Queenslander Violet Mielack. She said she was frightened and terrified when we told her that her details were on the internet for anyone to use.

All of the victims appear to have purchased goods from the same website, an Australian company. We won't name them - they had no idea what was going on. They say they secure their online shopping through Paypal."Paypal has had a few issues over the years and I think early on they were slow to respond to it, some people kind of do still worry about it, but they're certainly a lot better than some really small outlets," said tech expert Seamus Byrne said. He says this kind of information has become the new currency; more valuable than cash or gold.

"What you find is people who, their sole purpose is to create large lists of personal information and then they trade those lists with other people and then there's a whole trading process that goes on within organised crime online that eventually gets to a point where somebody wants to use that to steal money," Byrne said.

"Suncorp had rung me and warned me that someone was trying to hack into my account and they were trying several numbers... they seemed to think it was on Paypal," Elizabeth Heard said.Proving identity theft knows no borders, Queenslander Violet Mielack was also shocked to see her life listed for trade among cyber criminals.What I think I'll do is open an account but put a very small amount of money in there so that if anyone does access they haven't got access to large amounts of money," Mielack said.

The NSW Police E Crimes has been called in to work out what is happening and who's behind it.Recently in the United States a man named Albert Gonazalez was sentenced to 15 years prison for stealing 170 million credit card and ATM numbers with the corresponding details. He did it by hacking into major retailers billing systems over their WiFi networks.

We tested how easy it is to hack into anyone's computer and steal their details. Our hacker drove around with a laptop and an antenna stuck to the car window... within minutes he was in."First of all a very high number, 10% of Australians have been victims of online fraud," said visiting online crime buster Tim Callan from US cyber security giant Verisign. He said Australians have lost $1.29 billion to online identity fraud."As many as one in 70 websites is infected with some kind of malicious software and that's a very high frequency when think about your average internet user they're probably going to 70 websites in a month," Callan said."I'd say to other people just be very careful because they're out there tyring," said Violet Mielack."It's made me stop and think twice about purchasing online ever," said Elizabeth Heard.



- Use a secure, WPA internet connection.

- Don't give out personal information... Avoid opening attachments you can't trust for certain

- Use strong passwords, at least 12 characters, including letters, numbers and symbols - and change it regularly

- Delete suspect emails

- Use secure websites with lock icons and site seals.

- Change your credit card pin number regularly

- Check your credit card every couple of days for irregular transactions


- There are many advantages to purchasing goods online, however consumers should be vigilant as there is no tangible opportunity to view the goods before purchase

- Check the bona fides of the online company prior to making a payment

- Be cautious when providing your personal details online, including credit card details

- Never access internet banking from a link in an email

- Ensure your operating system is free of malware.

- If you have any suspicions about the site you are using, don't proceed with the payment

- Consider using payment intermediaries which can often be a safer alternative

- Regular update virus protection on your computer

- If you suspect any criminal activity, contact your financial institution and local police station immediately.