The Minister for Justice and Customs, Senator Chris Ellison, said the report -- compiled by the Securities Industry Research Centre of the Asia Pacific -- pinpointed identity theft's involvement in criminal and terrorist activity worldwide.
Ellison said in a statement: "The use of false or stolen identities underpins fraudulent acts against governments, business and individuals and can also underpin terrorism, people smuggling rackets and illegal immigration.
"It is not only individual victims that feel the pain of identity fraud - the impact also affects the way in which government and industry provide products and services, which has a flow-on effect for the entire Australian community.
"False identities lend anonymity to the perpetrators of crime, which makes tackling identity fraud a major ongoing challenge for governments and law enforcement agencies.
"Globalisation and e-business mean that transnational information flows can occur instantly without the need for face-to-face contact -- and, unfortunately, also means that transactions using stolen identities can occur quickly and with relative anonymity".
Ellison said a Federal Trade Commission survey in the U.S. calculated the cost to business and financial institutions to be $US48 billion last year, with consumers losing $US5 billion, while the UK Cabinet Office estimates the cost of identity fraud to the UK economy is at least ₤1.3 billion in 2000/01."
He said government had released a number of initiatives to deal with identity fraud, including;
Ellison also cited a range of collaborative initiatives between the Commonwealth and state governments, including: