What would you say if we told you that there’s a high chance that you'll fall victim to identity crime at some point?
The Australian Institute of Criminology found that 1 in 4 Australians have been a victim of identity crime, so protecting yourself should be a priority (if it isn’t already).
There are many types of identity crime, from physical theft of documents to scams by phone, text and email. Once a criminal has their hands on your details, they can use these to steal money from your bank accounts, open up phone accounts and even fraudulently access your Super or health insurance files.
While there’s no sure-fire way to prevent your ID from being stolen, there are a number of steps you can take to minimise the risk.
We suggest you:
- Avoid giving out any personal information to people you don’t know - especially if someone phones you unexpectedly. If in doubt, hang up and phone the company they claim to be from using the details on their website.
- Don’t click on any links or attachments in emails where you’re unsure of the source. Be extra careful about clicking on any links that ask you to update information, such as your password.
- Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on accounts that hold sensitive information (such as your bank account and ClearScore). This will add an extra layer of security to your accounts by asking you to enter a one-time code when you want to log in, alongside your password.
- Secure your postbox. Criminals might try to intercept credit cards or obtain bank statements or other documents containing your personal information by checking your mail.
- Restrict your privacy settings across all your social media accounts - the more private, the better. Try not to share your personal details online – in particular, your date of birth, address and contact details. Remember that all this information can be used by fraudsters to piece together your identity.
- Protect your devices using passwords. Make your passwords complex by using multiple words, special characters, numbers and capitals. (For example, Th!s*is^HARD2br3ak!) Don't use the same password for every account, and never share them with anyone. If you struggle to remember multiple passwords, use a free password manager to store and recall them for you.
- Install anti-virus software on your laptop and any other personal devices. Don’t forget to keep the software up to date so it’s performing at maximum capacity.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi. It’s much easier for fraudsters to hack or mimic them. If you have no choice but to use it, we encourage you not to access sensitive apps, such as mobile banking.
- Keep your operating system and apps updated at all times. Businesses often add enhanced security features with every update, so you know you’re getting the best version.
- Don’t ignore suspicious emails or texts. Rather than clicking on anything or replying, get in touch with the company or person the message claims to be from directly, using the contact details on their website.
Checking youris an easy way to spot signs of identity theft, helping you stay on top of your finances. You can monitor your credit report for free whenever you like on . Remember to give it a thorough check each month - if you see any accounts or credit enquiries you don’t recognise, let Experian (our partner credit reporting body) know immediately.
What to do if you think your identity has been stolen
Firstly, act fast if you think you’ve been a victim of identity fraud. Start by contacting your bank and any other relevant institutions that may have been impacted, such as your phone company.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has awith details of existing and new scams. You should report any scams you see here.
You can also contact, a free government-funded service that will work with you to develop a specific response plan to your situation and support you through the process. Visit the or call 1300 IDCARE (432273).