Your personal information is so valuable. We have a lot to lose if somebody steals your identity, and it’s not just money. It can take years to recover your identity. However, there are several ways to protect your identity online. Keep reading to find out what to look out for and how to protect yourself online.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is a type of fraud, where a scammer steals your personal information to steal your money or gain access to other accounts or benefits. Scammers use your information to impersonate you and:
- Access and take money from your bank account/s
- Open new credit card accounts or bank accounts to take out loans or lines of credit
- Set up phone, internet or utility services in your name
- Gain access to your government accounts or online services
- Purchase expensive goods
- Steal your superannuation funds
- Access your email or social media accounts to find more information about you and target your friends and family
What to look out for?
Do you know the warning signs that scammers are targeting your personal information online? Watch out for the following that may indicate you are being targeted:
- You receive an email, text or phone call asking you to provide information or validate your details by clicking on a link or attachment
- You receive a friend request on social media from a person you don’t know
- Unexpected pop-ups appear on your computer or device asking you to run software
Think you can spot an attempt to steal your information? The ACCC put together a quiz to test your knowledge.
How to protect your identity?
- Independently research a company if somebody is asking for your information. It’s a good idea to find their legitimate phone number and contact them directly to confirm it’s a genuine request.
- Keep an eye out for suspicious emails or messages, even if they appear to be from a trusted source. Watch for tell-tale signs, like sender’s email address, grammatical errors and suspicious links.
- Never share your personal information to people you don’t know or trust.
- Use secure passwords and set up multi-factor authentication on your accounts.
- Be careful with the information you share on social media as scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or target you with a scam.
It is important to remain vigilant to keep your information, money and identity safe online.