The typical profile of a “white-collar” criminal is a male, 38 years old with no history of dishonesty, who acts alone, and earns $113,000 a year, says Peter Morris, a former detective in the Australian Federal Police now working for KPMG.

Morris says such men steal on average $229,000, are motivated by greed and are only detected after a year. They commonly will have been an employee at the company they stole from for five years, he says.

Superannuation fund fraud typically includes taking benefit payments or the diversion of contributions, and false investments by financial planners.

There have been 61 attempts at superannuation identity theft in the last four years, says Stuart Forsyth, assistant commissioner of superannuation at the Australian Taxation Office. Of those attempts, 26 were successful, with one theft amounting to more than $100,000.

Such thefts may be have been organised by gangs, says Forsyth.

“These people are often very highly organised and ruthless,” he says. “I think I.D. fraud is on the rise and facilitated by computers.”

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