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1 in 5 Australians fall victim to Identity Theft; What you can do today to reduce your risk!

Jun 21, 2016

Source: Australian Federal Police: https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/crime-types/fraud/identity-crime

Recent estimates by the Attorney-General’s Department indicate that identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion each year, with the majority (around $900m) lost by individuals through credit card fraud, identity theft and scams. More alarmingly, identity crime continues to be a key enabler of serious and organized crime, which in turn costs Australia around $15 billion annually.

What can you do to protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim of identity theft?

  • Secure your mail box with a lock and make sure mail is cleared regularly.
  • Shred or destroy your personal and financial papers before you throw them away, or keep them in a secure place if you wish to retain them.
  • Always cover the keypad at ATMs or on EFTPOS terminals when entering your PIN, and be aware of your surroundings— is anyone trying to observe or watch you, are there any strange or loose fixtures attached to the machine or terminal?
  • Ensure that the virus and security software on your computers and mobile devices is up-to-date and current.
  • Don’t use public computers (for instance, at an internet café), or unsecured wireless ‘hotspots’, to do your internet banking or payments.
  • Be cautious of who you provide your personal and financial information to—ensure that there is a legitimate reason to supply your details. Don’t be reluctant to ask who will have access to your information and which third parties it may be supplied or sold to. Ask to see a copy of the Privacy Policy of the business before you supply your details.
  • Only use trusted online payment websites for items won at online auctions or purchased online. Never make payments outside of trusted systems—particularly for goods which you have not yet received (look for https://www or a “greenbar” in the URL – for an example go to AustBrokers Comsure’s Website).
  • Regularly review your bank statements and obtain a copy of your credit history report. Report any unauthorised transactions or entries ASAP.
  • Ask your bank or financial institution for a credit or debit card with an embedded ‘micro-chip’—they are more secure than cards with only magnetic stripes.
  • Don’t respond to scam emails or letters promising huge rewards if bank account details are supplied, or in return for the payment of ‘release fees’ or ‘legal fees’.
  • If responding to an online employment or rental advertisement, be wary of transmitting personal information and copies of documents via email or electronically. If asked to attend an interview, do some prior research to confirm the legitimacy of the company or employment agency.
  • In relation to social networking sites, always use the most secure settings. Take extreme care if placing personal details such as date of birth, address, phone contacts or educational details on your profile, and don’t accept unsolicited ‘friend’ requests.

More information about new methods of identity crime and emerging scams can be found at SCAMWatch.

If you think you have been victim of identity crime, report the matter to the local police. If you would like more information regarding Cyber Insurance and how this will help to protect you and your business, contact AustBrokers Comsure today on 1800 122 194.


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