15 Oct 2004

Australia police chief highlights identity fraud

11:15 am on 15 October 2004

Pacific island countries have reportedly been urged to work together to crack down on identity fraud.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reports that the Australian Police Commissioner has told a forum of regional police chiefs of the importance of tackling the problem.

Commissioner Mick Keelty told a meeting in Canberra yesterday that the region needs to work toward a consistent level of law enforcement.

He says identity crime opens up a whole new opportunity for criminals to exploit, particularly smaller nations.

Commissioner Keelty says identities are being stolen through internet sites, such as online banking.

He says the forging of documents such as passports and licences, is at the heart of organised crime and terrorism.

Identity fraud is estimated to cost around US$160 billion each year worldwide.

Police chiefs from Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Tonga, are attending the forum.