The theft of an individual’s personal information is a growing concern in Australia and across the world. Identity theft is a criminal act that involves stealing another person’s identity for financial gain or for malicious purposes. Knowing how to check if someone is using your identity can help protect you from becoming a victim of identity theft.
Identifying Identity Theft
Identity theft can take many forms, from using a stolen credit card to open a bank account in your name, to using your personal information to make fraudulent applications for government services. It is important to be aware of the signs of identity theft and to take action as soon as possible if you suspect that someone is using your identity.
Common signs of identity theft include:
- Receiving bills or notifications for services or products you didn’t buy
- Seeing charges on your credit or debit card that you don’t recognize
- Receiving calls or letters from debt collectors that you don’t recognize
- Receiving emails or letters with your personal information that you didn’t request
- Being denied access to government services or benefits because someone else is using your identity
If you notice any of these signs, it is important to take action immediately.
Taking Action in Australia
If you suspect that someone is using your identity, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Contact your bank or financial institution and inform them that you think someone is using your identity. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your account and to monitor for any suspicious activity.
- Contact the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) and report any suspicious activity. ACORN is a secure and confidential way to report cybercrime in Australia.
- Contact the three major credit reporting bureaus in Australia – Equifax, Experian, and illion – and ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Contact the Australian Federal Police and report the incident.
- Change your passwords and PINs for all of your online accounts and consider using two-factor authentication for added security.
- Contact the relevant government agency if you believe someone is using your identity to access government services or benefits.
By taking the above steps, you can help protect yourself from identity theft and ensure that your personal information is secure.
Identity theft is a serious crime in Australia and it is important to be aware