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How to avoid being a victim of Identity Theft

How to avoid being a victim of Identity Theft

25% of Aussies have fallen victim to Identity theft, costing $36 Billion annually.

Identity theft is when a criminal uses the internet to gain access to your personal information, such as your address, name, date of birth and drivers’ licence or similar information. 

Cybercriminals then either steal your money from your bank account, obtaining fraudulent credit cards or take out personal loans in your name. Your information can also be used to assist in money laundering and tax evasion.

The financial and emotional repercussions of identity theft can be devastating for victims. Once your identity has been stolen, recovery can be challenging, and you may encounter issues for years to come.

How Do You Know If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
Look out for these common warning signs:

  • Unfamiliar purchases or withdrawals on your bank statements;
  • Usual main such as electricity or phone bills are missing;
  • Bills or receipts for purchases you didn't make or statements for loans or credit cards you didn't apply for;
  • Notification from a government agency regarding a benefit you never applied for;
  • Refusal of credit due to a poor credit history stemming from debts that aren’t yours.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family
Here are some tips that can help you to safeguard you or your family:

  • Restrict the amount of information you share online. Reconsider sharing personal details like your birthday, photographs of your new home that reveal your address, or images identifying your children's school or your educational history. These details are often used for security questions on financial and other vital accounts.
  • Adjust your social media privacy settings to 'private,' ensuring that your photos and posts are only visible to people you know and trust.
  • Be cautious about accepting 'friend' requests from strangers.
Cybercriminals often employ impersonation tactics, posing as reputable organisations to request confirmation of personal details via messages or websites. As a result, many companies now state that they will not request updates or verifications of your details, such as passwords, PINs, credit card information, or account details via links in messages.

If there is a genuine need to update your details, ensure you do so by manually entering the official website address of the organisation into your internet browser, rather than using links from messages.

Think before you enter personal information on unfamiliar websites. Refer to our advice on shopping securely online and browsing the web securely for questions to help determine the authenticity of a website.

Agile CyberCare covers small businesses against cyber threats and data breaches, including 24/7 emergency response for incidents.

Cyber Liability Insurance is designed to help protect you from claims and support your profitability in the event of a cyber breach or attack.

Agile CyberSelect is aimed at mid-market to corporate clients and is a comprehensive Cyber Insurance policy with 16 policy benefits and 24/7 incident response.

Think before you enter personal information on unfamiliar websites. Refer to our advice on shopping securely online and browsing the web securely for questions to help determine the authenticity of a website.

Cybercriminals expect weak passwords, so it’s crucial to:

Cybercriminals exploit software vulnerabilities to gain access to your devices it’s essential to:

  • Keep your devices updated with the latest software, including antivirus software. Installing software updates ensures you have the latest security measures in place, and you can configure updates to install automatically.
Additional tips for protecting your online identity include:

  • Exercising caution when accessing public or untrusted Wi-Fi. We have published a list of tips to follow when using public Wi-Fi, such as using a VPN.
  • Regularly reviewing your account statements, including credit card statements, bank statements, telephone bills, and internet bills, for any signs of fraudulent activity.
  • Checking your credit report at least annually to detect any unauthorised activity.
  • Always securing your mailbox and shredding any sensitive documentation you no longer need.
  • Being cautious of phone calls requesting personal information.
  • Vigilantly protect your PIN when using ATMs and making other purchases to prevent people from attempting to view it.

What Type of Information Do Cybercriminals Steal?
A cybercriminal may seek to pilfer a variety of personal information, including your:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Driver's licence number
  • Address
  • Credit card details
  • Tax file number
  • Medicare card details
  • Passport information

General Advice Warning: This advice is general and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the advice is appropriate for you and your personal circumstances. Before you make any decision about whether to acquire a certain product, you should obtain and read the relevant product disclosure statement.

All information above has been provided by the author.

Insurance Advisernet, ABN 15 003 886 687, AFSL 240549

This article originally appeared on Insurance Advisernet and has been published here with permission.

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