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How to prevent identity theft and deliver security to your building

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Stolen mail and packages aren’t new problems for strata communities to be dealing with, but it’s the scale of the modern problem that requires our attention ahead, especially during the Christmas period.

Targeted by criminals for identity crime, the mailrooms and doorsteps of strata communities have long been the aim of fraudsters, and this year could be the ‘perfect storm’ for them. Hence, learning how to prevent identity theft in your strata community is necessary..

With online shopping and home deliveries taking off, thanks to COVID-19, we’re concerned that communities nationwide need to up their game on apartment security and identity theft protection, before a very ‘online’ Christmas shopping spree sees thousands fall victim to theft.

Statistics like the following put the growing problem into perspective…

  • A quarter of Australians, especially those who are living in an apartment, have had a package stolen in the last five years and one in 10 have been burgled within the last year alone.
  • Over 5 million Australian households are shopping online on a monthly basis; therefore, the risk for credit card and social security numbers are increasing.
  • Rest assured, it’s not just us at Ace who is watching these issues closely. Countless insurers and law enforcement agencies are alert to building security and identity security risks.
  • Over the past year, the Australian Federal Police have reported an increase in identity theft, credit card fraud and other such scams. In fact, according to the Consumers Federation of Australia, personal information and financial information crime are costing the country over $1.6 billion per year, with $900 million of that being lost by individuals.
  • NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research also shows that Christmas and New Year’s Eve are peak times for burglaries and break-ins in apartment living, with an increase in daily offences up to nearly 30 per cent during the holidays.
  • According to RACV Insurance, rented properties are 70 per cent more likely to be burgled than owner-occupied homes, and experts say that densely-packed urban areas where apartment living is rife are targets for opportunist thieves. Therefore, having a strategic apartment door security in your strata community is a must.
  • The popularity of food delivery services like UberEats and Deliveroo has opened the door for numerous delivery driver thefts, where drivers let into strata communities have left with mail and packages.
  • If any of these trends worry you, fear not – we have some tips to help your community tighten up security measures and prevent identity theft as well as mail and package theft.

    Your holiday security game plan (ways to prevent mail, package, and identity thieves)

    1. Common sense/processes

    Various experts indicate that the simplest method to avoid mail and package theft is to have the items delivered to work instead of the home.

    The core issue, of course, is having the package or mail sitting outside for an extended period of time.

    If delivering to work is not an option for you, alternatively, you can try to make sure that a friend or family member can attend the home during the day or require that the package be signed for, meaning that a local post shop will store the item until you pick it up.

    2. Deterrents/security measures

    Beyond common sense processes from the buyer/recipient’s perspective, a second layer of protection is great for you and your community. So, investing in stronger security measures can save you more energy in money in the long run.

    You would be surprised how good of a deterrent a well-positioned and visible security camera is in alerting you about possible fraudulent activity and in recording evidence if the item is stolen.

    Other security measures you can install in your strata community are swipe card readers and smart locks to mailrooms that ensure that only residents can enter.

    3. Rules in your community

  • Finally, you may also want to look at some new and improved rules or bylaws in your strata community to create some accountability and structure to help people learn how to prevent identity theft and maintain apartment security.
  • Encouraging owners to collect mail daily or meet drivers at the door for food deliveries may be a way to ensure that risks are mitigated in your community.
  • Likewise, if owners are going away for extended periods of time, perhaps there need to be rules to arrange mail re-directs or notify the strata committee so that mails can be collected securely.
  • Regardless of your community's size or makeup, online shopping and food delivery are here to stay, and, whether you like it or not, the threat of mail, package, and credit card theft..

    Nevertheless, small security tweaks will help you enjoy the convenience of delivery services without them becoming a point of frustration in your community.

    Seeking further advice?

    If you wish to further discuss any strata community matters with an Ace Body Corporate manager, please do not hesitate to visit our contact page and locate your nearest Ace manager for a chat.

    Ace Body Corporate Management
    Disclaimer: This is not advice and should only be referred to for general information purposes. Strata management contracts often vary, so we recommend you contact your local Ace manager for more information, or seek expert legal advice. This article is not intended to be personal advice, and you should not rely on it as a substitute for any form of advice.Ace Body Corporate Management offers this newsletter to clients to assist in updating them on company and industry news. The content within this newsletter is of a generic nature and may not be applicable to all owners corporations. Ace Body Corporate Management attempts to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information for our clients. However, we strongly recommend that individuals and committees seek further advice before acting on any information in this newsletter.