Identity theft is a common and pernicious crime that costs Australians more than $ 2.2 billion dollars a year. Australians are more likely to be victimized by this type of crime than any other crime. Identity theft is a serious crime in which an unauthorized party attempts to collect personal information about you for their own advantage.
We are surprisingly vulnerable to this crime. Information that we may give away freely – such as our full name, our date of birth and our address – can be used by identity thieves to build a full profile. The thieves may obtain this by stealing our mail or looking through our social media profile. This gives a new meaning to: be careful what you post!
Furthermore, there is a worrying trend whereby businesses unwittingly provide their customer’s personal information over the phone to callers whose identity that they cannot fully confirm. In a recent police raid, a Centrelink employee was caught selling private details as part of an elaborate identity scamming network.
Using this information, identity thieves can build a full profile based on your information, which will be used to mine all kinds of rewards. Technology allows these scammers to create bank cards, driver’s licenses and even medical cards. If they have your bank card details, they can use this to purchase products online and re-sell them. They may be damage your credit history, affecting your ability to apply for a loan or gain employment. By stealing your Medicare card, you may difficulty accessing the prescriptions or treatment that you are entitled to.
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from identity fraud. First and foremost, secure your personal documents. Whether this is at home or at your place of work, it is important to keep documents containing sensitive information carefully or dispose of them correctly. A professional paper shredding service is a safe and effective way of doing this. Be mindful of sharing your personal information over the phone and online. Keep yourself and your identity safe.