Identity theft can happen in many ways. It can range from someone using your credit illegally, to having your entire identity assumed by another person and business conducted in your name without your consent.
There are some simple measures to help keep your identity protected:
- Shred financial documents/receipts, and any document that shows your name and address before putting them in your name and address before putting them in your garbage, to protect your personal information.
- Lock your letterbox securely to avoid your personal mail being stolen. This is one of the most common ways thieves gain the personal details of their victims.
- Have your CUA statements sent to you by email rather than post
- If your mail is stolen, report this to CUA and any other financial institution you use so a warning can be placed on your account to protect against someone impersonating you by using this information.
- If you live in a shared property basis (for example, boarding or renting with others), lock your personal documents in a security drawer or cupboard to prevent someone else obtaining them.
- Be cautious of all offers that seem too good to be true. Any offer of large commissions or winnings should be checked out very carefully with the authorities in Australia. Learn more about hoax emails and scams.
- Make your passwords hard to guess, but easy to remember by basing your passwords on a mnemonic.
Signs of identity theft
Some typical signs your identity is being used unlawfully are:
- A financial institution informs you they have received an application for credit that you have not applied for.
- You receive phone calls or letters advising you’ve been denied credit that you’ve not applied for.
- You receive bank, mobile phone or credit card statements or notices in your name, of which you have no knowledge.
- You notice you no longer receive your bank or credit card statement or you notice that not all your mail is being delivered.
What can you do?
If you believe you’ve had personal information stolen, or have become a victim of identity theft, notify us as soon as possible on 133 282 or visit your local CUA branch so a note can be placed against your membership. You should also advise any other financial institution you bank with so they are aware of the situation. Any instance of identity theft should also be immediately reported to your local police.
Consider contacting Veda Advantage, a credit agency, to obtain your credit history report so you’re kept fully informed of any unauthorised activity on your own file. Veda Advantage can be contacted via their Customer Service Centre on 1300 762 207 or at MyCreditFile.com.au.
The Australian Government has an excellent website resource providing more information via Scamwatch, or take a look at the Government’s 'ID Theft Booklet – Protecting your Identity'.