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Unfortunately, it has become very easy for someone to steal your personal details and carry out illegal activities in your name. However, you can take steps to protect yourself from identity fraud by following the tips below.
Identity fraud is a type of fraud that involves the theft of your personal information, including your name, date of birth, address and other details. Fraudsters then use this information, for example, to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, start an illegal business or apply for a passport. Your details may also be used to commit serious crimes, such as money laundering and even terrorist acts. Identity thieves are after everything that contains your personal information: There are many ways in which people can steal your identity.
Your personal information is everywhere: If you suddenly start receiving less mail, be cautious. This could mean that scammers are stealing or redirecting your mail. This makes it easy for someone to get your personal details. For example, they can look through your garbage bins for bills and bank statements, steal your wallet or bag, break into your letter box or home, or hack into your computer.
Identity thieves are also becoming more sophisticated. They may send you a letter, email, SMS or message through social media to 'phish' for information or pretend to be calling on behalf of your bank or a government department, and trick you into giving them information. They may install a program on your computer that allows them to 'spy' on you and track your keystrokes every time you use your desktop computer or laptop. See requests for your account information for more details on phishing.
So how can you tell if someone is pretending to be you? Some telltale signs are if you start receiving bills, credit cards, loan statements or calls from creditors that you know nothing about or if you have difficulty obtaining a credit card or a loan because of an inexplicably bad credit rating. You might also notice that the amount of mail you receive is decreasing - which may indicate that items are being stolen or that mail is being redirected somewhere else. If your social media account has been hacked, you may notice posts appearing that you did not write, someone has logged into your account from an unusual location, your wall is flooded with spammy posts, and you are suddenly following a lot of new, unknown people.
For more information on online scam protection, see the Australian Goverment website Stay Smart Online. Find out how to report a scam and where to find support after being scammed. Identity theft can be devastating, both financially and emotionally. Follow the above guidelines to protect yourself and always alert the authorities if you suspect your details have been stolen or are being misused. If you think your personal information has been stolen, contact the police immediately. How identity theft happens There are many ways in which people can steal your identity.
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