What tips to prevent identity theft do you know?
Identity theft… you hear terrifying stories about it all the time, but are you in real danger?
Unfortunately, identity theft is becoming more prevalent in Australia. Here are some official numbers:
- The Attorney-General’s Department recent estimates 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.” (source)
- Even more alarming is that identity crime continues to be “a key enabler of serious and organised crime, which in turn costs Australia around $15 billion annually.” (source)
Numbers don’t lie. You can never be “too prepared” when it comes to protecting yourself from identity crimes.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is deliberately using someone else’s identity, usually without their permission or consent, either for a financial advantage or other benefits.
The Australian law enforcement department established several types of identity crimes based on their main characteristics, such as:
- Identity fabrication – creating a fictitious identity
- Identity manipulation – altering an individual’s identity without their knowledge or consent
- Identity theft – stealing one’s identity with or without their consent
- Identity crime – doing illegal acts using some else’s identity
You might also be interested in: Cyber Attacks On Businesses: How Well Protected Are You Against Them?
The warning signs of identity theft
You can potentially be an identity theft victim if you are able to identify one (or more) of the following activities in your life:
- Unusual transactions on your bank accounts
- Your mail suddenly goes missing
- Receiving suspicious receipts, invoices or notifications for services you know nothing about
- Losing important papers like your passport or driver’s license
If you can recognise any suspicious activity, alert your local authorities at once. Waiting is not a good strategy in cases like this.
How can you protect yourself and your business from identity theft?
Create a foolproof security plan.
Here are a few effective tips to prevent identity theft, include them in your security plan:
- Get a copy of your credit report and check for unauthorised items. It’s free, you can do it here.
- Make sure you have identity theft protection. IDCARE is a great Australian program you can try out. They can offer support for both individuals and organisations. Find more about their identity and cyber support services here.
- Use fraud alert. It’s a new feature you can opt for at your local credit reporting bureau. A fraud alert sends a warning signal to the lender telling them your personal information might’ve been compromised.
- A credit freeze is an advanced form of identity theft protection that prevents anyone from opening accounts with your name.
Focus on identity theft prevention with these 5 additional tips…
- Keep your personal documents safe, preferably in an actual safe or deposit box.
- Make photocopies of all the personal documents you keep in your wallet.
- Cancel all credit cards you aren’t currently using.
- Be creative with your passwords and choose difficult ones other people won’t be able to guess. Learn more about how you can protect from online hacking in this article.
- Don’t throw out your personal documents without shredding them first.
Start protecting your business’ identity
You’re in the right place here at Shuriken Consulting. Learning a few useful tips to prevent identity theft is great, but you also need a plan. Our amazing team of specialists are more than happy to assist you in creating a personalised protection plan to make your business bulletproof to the most common types of identity thefts or cyber attacks.
Does it sound like a good plan? Let’s get in touch!