216,000 New Zealanders using fake names when applying for credit

216,000 New Zealanders using fake names when applying for credit

The internet’s creating a smokescreen for fraudsters applying for credit, according to the country’s largest credit bureau.

Statistics released by Veda show nearly 5% of New Zealanders have used fake names when applying for credit and have poor credit histories.

The data analytics company found 216,000 New Zealanders fell into this category during 2014.

Veda managing director, John Roberts, says technology has made it easier for people to be fraudulent, as you often don’t need to present proof of identity when applying for credit online.

You can submit an application from the privacy of your home, rather than presenting your passport at a bank teller, for example.

Roberts says the extent people are going to, to create aliases, is alarming.

They come up with fake names, addresses and occupations.

A person’s even been caught with 27 aliases.

Roberts notes the statistics exclude people who have files under more than one name, because they got married or entered into new business partnerships, for example.

He says the situation poses a real credit and fraud risk to banks, finances companies, lenders and other credit providers, such as telcos and energy companies.

In reality, those ripping off credit providers are probably also trying to get cash through other means, like fake insurance claims.

Roberts says it’s the same group of people causing the trouble.

While the problems tend to stem from lower socio-economic areas, it’s not only those strapped for cash that are offending.

He believes there’s a myth New Zealand doesn’t have a fraud problem.

“Each year we see an increase in the number of people using multiple aliases on top of having poor credit records", says Roberts.

There was a 38% increase in the number of people using fake names on top of having poor credit histories from May-November 2013 to that period in 2014.

“Fraud is a growing problem in New Zealand, and can take hold in organisations that are not equipped to tackle it or don’t understand its impact."

New Zealand isn’t the only country that faces this problem.

Veda confirms that in Australia, there was a 27% increase in total credit application fraud in the 12 months from 2012 to 2013.

It says identity takeover is the fastest growing form of credit application fraud across the Tasman, increasing by 103% from 2012 to 2013.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.

9 Comments

Comment Filter

Highlight new comments in the last hr(s).

Wow , 216,000 people committing fraud  out of a working population of 2,682 MILLION aged 20 to 65
Thats way too many.
Are they sure their stats are correct ? 

216,000 people?   I seriously doubt it.   30,000 people, with that many identities yes.
If they could identifiy the correct number of people why couldn't they identify the accounts they're tallying for their count.........

The report statistic was aliases recorded on thier credit file,  not fake names. It likely includes maiden names, foreigners using anglicised names, dropping a middle name, etc.
If Veda is able to match the alias to the persons real credit file, it shouldn't be causing a fraud problem.
The big danger is that it could be a fraudster using stolen info to apply for credit under many names, which gets linked to the real peoples' files without the real person knowing an alias has been linked to them.

Yes it happens too too often. But but.
It would seem most of this is an admission that Veda has its files in a big mess.

Hi there, thank you for your comments. We have tripled-checked the figures with Veda, which confirms they are correct. John Roberts also confirms the 216,000 doesn't include discrepancies caused by people losing their maiden names, dropping their middle names, etc. The figures are undoubtedly quite staggering.  

That 1 in every 10 working New Zealanders has faked names with credit records is not believeable.   If Veda had that much weight of evidence of corruption they would have to reveal it to police/government otherwise be complict in the identity theft.   A few thousand might be a needle in the haystack, but 216000 .... let see... if my ISP was involved in 216,000 copyright infringements (a far less important crime) would that be deemed faultless...

lol. So every day we see hundreds before the courts for credit fraud.  But we are not. This article is just PR business promotion.

Wow that's a staggering statistic (if true). Credit card issuers must be holding huge amounts of debt that'll never be repaid if that's the case. Sounds like a recipe for more financial turmoil sooner or later to me.

Not only that but it means that credit card companies and associates must also be fully aware that their screening systems aren't working for figures that large.