What is identity theft?
Identity theft is the fraudulent practice of stealing someone’s personal information and then using it to access the individual’s resources, obtain credit, and purchase merchandise.
How do you know if your identity has been stolen?
Here are some of the possible indications:
- You receive calls from debt collectors or businesses about products or services that you didn’t purchase.
- You didn’t receive your bills and other similar mail. This could mean that someone has already taken over your account and changed your billing address. Make sure you follow up your bills if they don’t arrive on time.
- You were offered higher interest rates or denied credit altogether for no evident reason.
- Your funds were taken out of your accounts without your authorisation.
Steps to take
If you think your identity has been stolen, here’s what you should do:
Step #1: Inform your creditors
First things first—you have to notify your banks, credit card providers, and lenders about your concern. You need to inform the corresponding institution which accounts are affected, and may have to change passwords and/or PINs. You might even have to close the account and open another one.
Here are some of the contact numbers you may need:
|Adelaide Bank||13 22 20 (in South Australia)
1300 65 22 20 (outside SA)
|AMP Bank||13 30 30|
|ANZ||13 33 33|
|Bank of Sydney||1300 880 760|
|Bank of Queensland||1300 55 72 72|
|BankSA||1800 028 208|
|Bankwest||13 17 18|
|Bendigo Bank||1300 366 666|
|Citibank||13 24 84|
|Commonwealth Bank||13 22 21|
|HSBC||1300 308 008|
|ING Direct||133 464|
|Macquarie Bank||02 8232 3333|
|National Australia Bank||13 22 65|
|RaboDirect||1300 30 30 33|
|St. George Bank||13 33 30|
|Suncorp Bank||13 11 55|
Important reminder: When reporting the theft to agencies like your bank, credit union, credit agency, or the police, make sure you record important details of your conversations. This would include the contact person, person’s position, date, time, telephone number, and information provided.
Step #2: Report the crime
Next thing to do is to report the identity theft to your state or territory police. Since you are the victim of a crime, you might be asked to go through fingerprinting and other processes to establish that you are not the same person as the individual who used your identity illegally.
You may contact the police assisted line at 131 444 (for all states and territories) or visit your local police station.
Step #3: Contact the credit ratings agencies
You also need to contact the different credit reporting agencies about the identity theft. Take this as an opportunity to get a copy of your credit file so that you can check for unauthorised entries and changes to your accounts, and if there have been other accounts opened under your name.
If you find any questionable entries, see to it that you contact the corresponding institution that reported them. Ask the institution to further examine the matter and have the entry taken out of your credit file.
Here are the contact details for the credit reporting agencies:
- Veda Advantage
Phone number: 1300 762 207
- Dun and Bradstreet (Australia) Pty Ltd
Phone numbers: 13 23 33 or 1300 734 806
- Tasmanian Collection Service for Tasmanian residents
Phone number: (03) 6223 5599
Step #4: Check with the post office
This is crucial: contact your local post office and see if your address has been changed. Identity thieves do this to reroute their victim’s mail and cover their tracks.
Step #5: Get in touch with relevant government departments
Don’t forget to contact relevant government agencies like Centrelink, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and the Australian Passport Office. Here are some of the contact details that you may need:
- Australian Crime Commission
This ACC can assist you in notifying some government agencies that their your has been stolen. Contact the ACC at (02) 6243-6666.
- Australian High Tech Crime Centre
If you think your identity was stolen through scams like fake websites or malware, you may contact the AHTCC at 02 6223 3000.
- Australian Securities and Investments Commission
If you believe your identity was fraudulently used in the creation or amendment of a company record, contact ASIC at 1300 300 630 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Australian Passport Office
The loss or theft of your passport leaves you at risk to identity fraud. Report it immediately to the Australian Passport Office at 131 232.
If you believe your identity may have been used illegally by someone to get a social security payment and/or service they are not entitled to, call Centrelink at 13 7230.
- Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia
Do you think identity was to commit bankruptcy fraud? Then call ITSA at 1300 364 785.