10 tips to protect yourself from ID theft | Gadget Guy Australia – GadgetGuy

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ID theft is a serious crime. By stealing your identity, someone can access your bank account, apply for credit cards or loans in your name, change a home address, get a driver’s licence, and even set up a business. And thieves strike all the time.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs says that each year around 5% of Australians (1.3 million people) experience financial losses because of ID theft. Every 20 seconds an Australian is a victim of identity crime. And 21.5% of us have been a victim at some time in their lives.  

If you add online credit card fraud, love rat and other scams the losses skyrocket. ABS say that figure is over 8.5% of Aussies and over 30% of these had two or more incidents.

Val Quinn, Channel 7 Sunrise Gadget Guy warns ID Theft is happening right now.

Val Quinn wanrs on ID thef

It is up to you to be proactive and protect yourself from ID theft.

In too many cases all you need to establish an online
identity is given name, middle name, family name and date of birth. Some ask
for a copy of a birth certificate, drivers’ licence, passport or some other
form of proof – a utility bill, bank statement, Mobile phone account, Medicare
number etc.

Most government services use the Document Verification Service (DVS) but few private organisations do. In short, it is very easy to establish an online persona.

#1 Don’t overshare on social media – especially not FakeBook

Have you ever thought about how much extra information you
hand over online? For example, by default, public Facebook profiles reveal your
full name, birth date, and where you work, so scammers can find out all that
information with the click of a button. The best way to skirt scammers is not
to let them in!

Or when shopping online why do they ask so many damned
questions? For online forms, only fill out the required fields, usually marked
with an asterisk (*) and it is quite permissible to lie about everything except
the details needed to make a delivery.

And beware of so called FakeBook quizzes (any quiz) as they
can harvest data to fill in gaps in your dark web profile.

ID theft


Think about what you put online and what consequences it may
have today or in ten years’ time. Get into the mantra – It’s my data, don’t overshare.

Switch all your profiles to private and delete unnecessary details.
Only accept friend requests from people you know and trust.

Top tip: #DeleteFaceBook

#2 Lock your real-world physical mailbox at the front gate!

This type of theft is still common today. A paper bank statement, phone or utility bill is almost all it takes to help get the 100 points of ID to set up an account or change an existing one. Cybercriminals often hire people to trawl the suburbs looking for mailbox gems.

ID Theft starts at the letterbox


Install a lock on your mailbox and check your mail regularly. If your mailbox is a little less secure have your packages delivered to a P.O. Box or your office.

ID theft

But it is more than just you mail box. In a recent survey
18% of people said that a primary type of ID was stolen during a home break in.
Cybercriminals pay big bucks for original documents.

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