Your identity is the key to your personal freedom. Driving a car, enjoying an overseas holiday and applying for a loan all depend on you being able to prove that you are who you say you are.
If someone has a copy of your driver’s license, passport or other personal identification documents, you may have a hard time convincing organisations such as debt collectors that you’re a victim of identity theft. For some victims, this can persist for years.
Your imposter could apply for credit, spend up big and never make a repayment on the loan 'you’ve' taken out (without your knowledge). In extreme circumstances, they could commit a major crime, using your name. It’s important to keep your identity protected with a few basic actions.
Make your identity invisible to cyber criminals
According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, one in four Australians have experienced identity theft.
Here are some ways to reduce the risk of your identity being stolen online.
Keep social media 'social'
Check the security and privacy settings of your social media accounts and ensure the only people that can see you are those you know and trust. Keeping the personal information you provide on social media private, ensures that your privacy stays in tact when being 'social' online.
Read How to use social media securely to find out more.
Protect your computer and internet devices
Install security software including virus, malware and spyware protection. To find out more, check out:
- Our free anti-virus software offer
- Easy ways to protect your computer from malware.
- How to secure your mobile devices and apps.
- Handy tips for secure online shopping and banking.
And always use strong passwords.
Stay informed about online threats and scams
Sign up to the Government’s Australian Cyber Security Centre, opens in new window alert service – this free service delivers news and advice about the latest scams straight to your inbox.
Follow Australian government website Scamwatch, opens in new window to stay up to date on the latest scam alerts so you know what to look out for.
Never click a link on a suspicious email or text message
Report it, then delete it. To find out more, check out:
Only use secure WiFi networks
If a free public WiFi network isn’t secured, it may be a prime target for cyber criminals. Free doesn’t mean secure. Avoid using public WiFi networks unless you are using a VPN (Virtual Private Network). You can learn more about VPNs from the Australian Cyber Security Centre, opens in new window
Check your credit rating
Order a free copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency to check your credit history. This will highlight any suspicious activity that might be linked to your identity. Check it annually and if you have suspicions that your identity has been stolen, a quick way to alleviate those fears is to order your credit history from a credit reporting agency.
Always check financial statements
Regularly review your banking and financial statements to check for any unusual activity. Call your bank or financial institution immediately if you suspect someone is accessing your money fraudulently. Always keep your bank or financial institution up to date on your contact details, so you can be contacted quickly if any unusual activity is detected on your account.
Unsolicited mail or phone calls may be an alert
If you suddenly begin to receive unsolicited (physical) mail or parcels that you have no knowledge of, this needs to be investigated further. If debt collectors start contacting you about recovering money you’ve never borrowed, take action immediately.
Take care of documents that may contain your personal information
If you stop receiving expected communications, it could mean it’s being stolen from your letterbox. If you can secure your letterbox, do so, and if you suspect your mail is being stolen report it to the police immediately. It’s best to shred or destroy any documents if you are throwing them out – even place them in separate bins so if someone gets hold of them, they won’t have your full details.
Sign up for data breach monitoring
You can sign up to the ‘Have I Been Pwned’ website, opens in new window run by security researcher Troy Hunt to be notified if your email address (and other information) has been exposed in a data breach. This information can help you be aware of where and how your information is being used. You can also test how common passwords are, and see how many times they have previously been exposed in data breaches.
How to get your stolen identity back
From the moment you believe your identity has been used fraudulently, you need to take these steps.
Report the identity theft
Phone 13 14 44 to report your stolen identity to your state police. Make sure you get a copy of the police report, or a reference number to quote to other businesses or agencies that you may need to discuss your stolen identity with.
Contact the Australian Cyber Security Centre / ReportCyber
ReportCyber is a secure reporting and referral service for cyber crime. You can report identity theft by completing an online form – Report a Cybercrime, opens in new window. Once submitted, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a reference number. ReportCyber isn’t an investigative service, but a referral and reporting service. If ReportCyber don’t investigate the matter but further action is necessary, they will arrange for the relevant law enforcement agency to contact you.
Contact any organisation that may be affected
Contact the issuing organisation that has provided you an identity document or card if it’s been compromised.
If you have unknown activity on your bank account, or you have debt collectors chasing you for money that you have no knowledge of owing, make sure you contact everyone involved to put a stop to further damage and provide them with reference numbers for the investigation either from ACORN or the Police.
Take action on all your accounts
Immediately change all passwords on your accounts and close any accounts that you have no knowledge of having set up. Choose strong passwords.
Contact IDCARE for expert advice
IDcare is a free victim support service that can help advise you on how to recover your identity. Phone their helpline on 1800 595 160. You can visit the IDcare website, opens in new window to find out more.
How we can help
If you’re a NAB customer and you believe your business or personal accounts have been impacted by fraud or a scam, we’re here to help. Explore the immediate steps you can take to protect yourself and discover when you should get in touch with us to make a report.
IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand's not-for-profit counselling and support service set up to assist Australians impacted by identity theft and cyber-related crimes.
IDCARE can assist NAB customers to navigate through the process when identity details or credentials have been compromised through fraud or scams. IDCARE is a free service for all Australians.
Australian Government | Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC)
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) brings cyber security capabilities from across the Australian Government together in a single location. It’s the hub for private and public sector collaboration and information sharing to combat cyber security threats. ACSC provides topical, relevant and timely information on how home internet users and small businesses can protect themselves from, and reduce the risk of, cyber security threats such as software vulnerabilities, online scams, malicious activities and risky online behaviours.
Australian Government | ReportCyber
ReportCyber is a secure reporting and referral service for cybercrime and online incidents which may be in breach of Australian law. The ReportCyber website provides a cybercrime reporting mechanism as well as helpful information about cybercrime.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission | Scamwatch
Scamwatch provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams using publications, videos and other online resources.
Australian Government | Office of the eSafety Commissioner
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides online safety education for Australian children and young people, a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, and address illegal online content.
Australian Government | Attorney-General’s Department
The Attorney-General’s Department website provides helpful information and resources about your rights and protections in regards to identity security, freedom of information and cyber security. The Department has developed a range of resources to assist people protect their identity and recover from the effects of identity crime.
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