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Identity Theft is the act of using your personal information without your consent. Here is some information to help you if you think you have been exposed to identity theft and the steps you can take to minimise the impact. View the information on your topic of interest below

Identity theft is the act of using your personal data without consent. This may occur online, through email or phone scams, spyware on your computer or even just stolen mail. Fraudsters are usually trying to steal money directly or to set up fake accounts in someone else’s name.

A stolen identity can be used to:

  • Apply for credit
  • Access personal and/or financial details
  • Open bank or utility accounts
  • Open mobile phone accounts
  • Access tax refunds
  • Create fake ID such as driver’s licenses, passports, Medicare cards
  • Steal from bank accounts
  • Demand payments
  • Fraudulently claim government benefits

There are many ways to identify whether you have been a victim of identity theft. Maintaining vigilance of your personal data and online accounts, liaising with your credit provider and working with credit reporting bodies, such as Experian, are just a few.

Here are a few examples of situations that might occur if you have been a victim of identity theft:

  • You get an unexpected letter from a bank or the ATO (Australian Taxation Office)
  • You’re denied straightforward credit such as a store card or credit card limit increase
  • You receive emails from legitimate businesses about a purchase you never made
  • Your bank flags a suspicious credit card transaction
  • You start getting calls from collections agencies for credit you know nothing about
  • You stop receiving emails or paper statements for credit cards or bank accounts you hold with financial institutions

If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft then we have outlined below the steps you should take to resolve the issue:

  1. Determine the type of identity document that was stolen
  2. Obtain a copy of your credit report from Australia’s 3 credit reporting bodies (CRBs) Experian, Equifax and Illion
  3. Confirm there is fraudulent activity on your credit report
  4. Notify the police and obtain a police report number
  5. Place a Ban on your Experian credit report
  6. Contact your credit providers directly a raise a fraud investigation
  7. Raise a dispute with your credit provider. Experian may be able to assist in raising a dispute on your behalf with the credit provider – although some may insist you contact them directly so an investigation can be raised with their fraud department
  8. View your Experian credit report regularly; you can obtain a free copy of your report every three months by visiting here

Helpful resources:

ID Care

Credit Smart

There are many scenarios in which your personal information could be accessed for unlawful use. Being aware of some of the more common forms of identity theft is an important step in keeping your information safe and secure.

Common situations in which your personal or payment information could be accessed and some ways you can protect yourself are outlined below.

How could a fraudster access my personal information?

  • Providing your details via social media or services such as online dating
  • Signing up to unknown software or applications
  • Via physical mail items including documents that may contain personal details such as bank and credit card statements and pre-approved credit card offer
  • By thieving items from your mailbox such as bank statements, credit cards, mortgage documents
  • Via any unsecured websites that you have used
  • Through a data breach at an organisation you are a customer of
  • If you have your wallet or purse stollen. Items that may contain your details include your driver’s licence, health fund card, Medicare card, credit card, Centrelink card, passport
  • By skimming credit and debit cards via unsecured ATM or EFTPOS terminals
  • Through internet or competition scams that you provide personal detail to
  • Via fake or unknown source online forms that you enter your details into
  • Through scammers that you provide your details to over the phone who claim to be from an organisation that they do not work for

What can I do to protect my personal information?

  • Access a copy of your credit report from each of the credit reporting bureaus. Regularly checking your credit report allows you to monitor for any suspicious credit applications that you did not make yourself
  • Lock your mailbox and make sure you check it regularly
  • Avoid using obvious passwords, or always using the same passwords and personal identification numbers
  • If an email seems odd, it probably is. Be especially careful about opening any attachments or clicking on any links in suspicious emails. Check the email address that the correspondence has come from to make sure it’s from the company/person that you think it is
  • Never give out personal details over the phone unless you are certain that you trust the caller. If you aren’t sure, arrange to call the business back on a number that you have verified via a separate source
  • Take note if a shop or service wants to take a photocopy of your driver’s licence or passport
  • Never give personal or financial details to people you don’t know
  • Think about the information you are posting on social media, ensuring you don’t put any personal information on social channels
  • A bank will never call or email you asking you to transfer funds to another account or a ‘safe’ account
  • Where possible, use two or three step authentication online