An alarming report has revealed the private Medicare card details of any Australian are available to buy via “The Medicare Machine” – a darknet vendor exploiting an alleged vulnerability in the government agency which the seller hopes is “here to stay”.
Guardian Australia lead the investigation, verifying the claims by requesting the details of a Guardian staff member. All you need, they say, is the first and last name – as well as date of birth – of any individual. Then you receive their full Medicare card details.
The Medicare details of at least 75 individuals have been sold via the vendor in the last nine months alone, with the current going rate 0.0089 bitcoin ($29.75).
The Department of Human Services, Department of Health, Australian federal police and information commissioner have been made aware of the breach.
You can read the full report here, and further details as to exactly how much information is being made available (is it just card numbers? or are medical records sold as well?) have been requested. We will update as we learn more.
Even if it is just the card details, what can buyers actually do with this information? Identity theft is the big one. Your Medicare details could be used to open bank accounts, apply for credit cards, start an illegal business or apply for a passport. Your details could also be used to commit serious crimes, such as money laundering and – in extreme cases – terrorist acts.
If you think you may be at risk, contact IDCare.