Identity theft and fraud is when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal information, such as their name, account details, address, date of birth or driver’s licence details for financial gain. They assume their identity so they can commit fraud by applying for credit, running up bills and not paying creditors under the other person’s name.
Identity takeover is where someone’s entire identity is assumed and used to open accounts, apply for loans, lodge tax returns and conduct other business illegally in the other person’s name. Identity takeover in Australia is increasing, and your personal information may be used to commit fraud.
Your information can be obtained in many ways:
Read the information below for ways to keep your personal details safe from fraudsters.
You can find further information on protecting yourself or your business, or on dealing with Identity Theft at Protect Your Financial Identity, which provides information about how to protect your financial identity, developed in partnership by the Australian Bankers’ Association, the Australian High Tech Crime Centre and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Your tax file number (TFN) is used to identify you in your dealings with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). You should destroy or delete your TFN from any documents before throwing them away. Your TFN and other personal information can be used to lodge tax returns and other tax forms, to receive refunds in your name.
The ATO Client Identity Support Centre is a support service for taxpayers who have had their identities stolen or misused. The Centre will give you information, advice and assistance to re-establish your identity.
Be aware of the information you share online via social networking websites, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Remember that anything you post online, may be available for anyone to see.
Information like your date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name and other standard identification questions shouldn’t be shared. Make your profile private and only add friends you know.
To protect yourself while using these social networking sites:
Remember, we will never ask to you disclose your confidential PIN, Internet Banking password or Phone Banking Access Password to us over the phone, by email or in person.
Fraudsters and scammers may try to obtain personal information from people in order to gain access to their accounts. They do this by calling you, or sending hoax emails and texts claiming to be from a known company requesting personal information.
Read the below tips on what to do if you think you are the target of a hoax: