Published on 13 August 2014
A new University of the Sunshine Coast academic is leading research into the prevention and effects of identity theft, a fast-growing crime that affects one million people across Australia and New Zealand each year.
Dr David Lacey, who has worked for 15 years in federal law enforcement and national security and is a visiting senior fellow at universities interstate, has also founded a support centre for individual victims of identity theft and misuse.
In October, he will officially launch the not-for-profit charity iDcare – a trans-Tasman first – at its new base at the University’s Innovation Centre at Sippy Downs.
“There’s a fantastic congruence between the USC research program and iDcare, which will offer clinical placements for students from counselling and related behavioural science disciplines as well as research collaboration opportunities,” said Dr Lacey, who last month gained a full-time Senior Research Fellowship at USC.
“Identity theft is a perfect example of where crime and mental health consequences intersect. A significant portion of victims suffer more than financial losses, often displaying signs of anxiety, even depression.
“There are a lot of people who need this service and research. Everyone has an identity but particular at-risk groups are children, small business and the elderly.”
Dr Lacey said he wanted to build projects from USC and Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast to provide benefits locally, nationally and internationally.
“We want to unlock what has largely been a silent crime and I’m excited about the possibilities for teaching and research,” he said.
His research topics will include: optimising identity verification and authentication systems; looking after the disadvantaged, disabled and people in remote communities; how to control emerging identity crime threats; and re-establishing trust with consumers following identity crimes impacting business and government.
Dr Lacey, who started his career in Australian Defence Force intelligence, has university qualifications in accounting, management and justice and has implemented national identity security capabilities for government and industry.
— Julie Schomberg