This week is part 2 of “Why you need to keep your identity safe” with further tips of how to ensure your safety.
Have you received an unexpected email or text asking you to ‘confirm’ personal details by clicking on a link or opening an attachment? It could be an attempt to steal your information for financial gain. Identity theft is on the rise, so it’s important to know how to protect yourself.
How to protect yourself
To protect your identity and personal information, you should follow these tips from Scamwatch:
- Be alert to suspicious texts or emails. Avoid opening them where possible. If a message is worded to try and make you act with urgency, delete it immediately.
- If you want to verify that a message is legitimate, look up the contact details for the organisation and use these to get in touch. Do not use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
- Never send money or give account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. Don’t use the same password for every account and don’t share them with anyone.
- Secure your networks and devices with anti-virus software and a good firewall. Avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re accessing or providing personal information.
- Only make online payments using a secure payment service. Look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol. Or use a payment provider such as PayPal.
- Lock up your mailbox and shred or destroy any documents containing personal information.
- Accessing your credit report is one way of checking that no one is using your name to borrow money. Visit the ASIC MoneySmart website to find out how to access your credit report.
What to do if you’ve been targeted
Any type of identity theft can be reported to the police as a crime. Applying for a Commonwealth Victims’ Certificate can help you support your claim that you are a victim of identity crime. Support is also available from IDCARE, a free service that will help you limit the impact identity theft.
If you have been a victim of identity crime and you still have your card, the AFP says you shouldn’t have to pay for anything bought on it without your permission (subject to the terms and conditions of your account). If your card has been reported lost or stolen, the AFP says you will usually not have to pay, unless it can be shown that you have acted fraudulently or without reasonable care, for example, by keeping your PIN number with your card.
For further advice on the best ways to manage money, including protecting yourself and your finances from scams, your financial adviser can help, so please feel free to reach out to them on 02 9211 0228.