Identity crime can cause financial and emotional distress. Learn more about out how to recover from identity theft in Australia.
Identity theft is one of the most common crimes in Australia. According to a survey by the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC), 19 percent of respondents had been victims of misuse of their personal information at some time during their lives.
Identity theft is also one of the fastest growing crimes. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 11 percent of people experienced one or more type of personal fraud in 2020-2021. With a growing trend towards identity crime, it is important to know what it is and what to do if you are a victim of identity crime.
Know the signs of Identity Theft
There are many different ways you can fall victim to identity theft and fraud, ranging from data breaches to scams such as phishing which are very popular as a means to trick people into divulging sensitive information, either by providing it themselves, or by installing malware that automatically steals data from their computer.
There are some common signs that indicate you may have been the victim of identity theft. They include
- problems signing into your accounts,
- unauthorised transactions on your accounts,
- unfamiliar charges on your bank and credit card,
- an unexpected credit rejection, contact by debt collectors,
- unexpected bills in your email inbox,
- unusual activity on your phone,
- you receive a notification that your account might be compromised,
- utility services cut off.
The good news is that, in many instances, identity theft can be detected, reported and minimised with a little extra vigilance and scrutiny on your behalf.
How to Manage Identity Theft Recovery
If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft or suspect that you may be, you need to act as quickly as possible to minimise any potential damages.
- Freeze your cards and personal ID – If you suspect you have been a victim of identity fraud or if you lose your wallet or purse, you should contact the relevant card issuers and cancel all your cards as quickly as possible. The same applies for any other form of personal ID that may have been misused.
- Report the fraud to the police and to the relevant agencies, such as your bank and credit card companies – if you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft, you should report your suspicions as quickly as you can. Report to your local police and ask for a police report or reference number as evidence you have reported the issue. Report any cybercrime to the Australian Cyber Security Centre at ReportCyber and you can also report to Australia’s ScamWatch.
- Change your passwords – ID thieves often try to hijack and usurp your accounts, so it is important to change the passwords on your accounts and close any unauthorised ones. Keep a record of the cancellations. Avoid using the same password for multiple websites.
- Get a copy of your credit report – You should obtain a copy of your credit report and check it’s accurate. Australians are entitled to a free credit report once every 12 months. The report will also show which organisations have checked your credit history recently, so you can contact them to prevent them authorising a new account in your name.
- Get legal advice – If you believe you have been a victim of identity fraud, you may require legal advice, especially If you're contacted about money for goods or services you didn't order. You may also be eligible for a Commonwealth Victim’s Certificate to help support your claim if you have been the victim of Commonwealth identity crime. You can present the certificate to an organisation such as a government agency or a business (such as a financial institution or credit agency). Community legal centres also provide general legal assistance.
A national identity and cyber support service for Australia and New Zealand, called IDCARE, also provides “free practical and behavioural support “to people who have fallen victim to identity theft.
Helping to Protect against Identity
Theft Identity theft is never a simple process for the victim. Once you have taken steps to try and stop your identity from being abused, the process of resolving that misuse and recovering your identity and reputation can be onerous and stressful.
With Norton Identity Advisor Plus you have dedicated Identity Restoration Specialists on-hand to help you should you discover you are a victim of identity theft. Our knowledgeable specialists can help you evaluate and address your identity fraud claim and recommend the steps to take and calls to make with you to help resolve the fraudulent activity.
We also monitor the dark web and your social media accounts to help identify risks and advise you on the steps you can take to help protect yourself.
Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc.
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