What should I do to protect me and my family from ID theft?
If you shop online or share your information on social media it is a good idea to take steps to help protect your personal information. We’ve got a great checklist, called ‘PROTECT' that you can follow to help protect yourself and your family from identity theft.
- Reduce the risk of postal fraud by installing a secure mailbox.
- Arrange for your mail to be held at the post office whenever you go away. If you are moving house, arrange for your mail to be forwarded and let companies such as banks, credit card and utility companies know your new address.
- After you've read important documents and no longer need them, shred them before throwing them out.
- Check your bank accounts each month and investigate any suspicious activity, such as small payments to unknown companies or people.
- Don’t reveal passwords and personal identification information online, such as your birth date, full name, mother's maiden name or your phone number.
- If you use social media sites like Facebook, make sure your privacy and security settings are updated so only ‘friends’ can access your page.
- Regularly check your credit file and register for Equifax’s Credit Alert service, which notifies you when certain changes are made to your credit file.
- Consider Identity Watch, Australia's only cyber monitoring service. If your personal information is found to be compromised online you will be alerted.
- Shred paperwork containing personal information or account details, including bank and credit card statements, phone and energy bills.
- Always use secure sites when paying for purchases or transferring money online.
- Install security software and keep it updated to protect your computer from hackers, scammers and viruses.
- Never open any attachments from unreliable sources, or unusual messages or files from people you don’t know.
Immediately inform your credit providers if you notice any suspicious activity in your financial accounts.
How often will I receive Identity Watch alerts?
Beyond our welcome email – you will only receive an alert if your data is being compromised (read: found being traded illegally in online forums). We don’t know when crooks will be acting. That’s why we watch everything all the time.
Can I pay to monitor more items as part of my Identity Watch service?
Yep. If you are on the Gold plan (which covers 15 items) you can upgrade to the Platinum plan to get up to 26 items covered.
How long does it take once I have entered my details for them to be monitored?
Once you have registered the personal information you would like monitored by Identity Watch it takes 12–24 hours for us to carry out the initial scan. We’ll send you an email after the first scan is done and let you know what we found.
Does my bank get notified if I get an Identity Watch alert?
No. Only you will receive an email alert. You then have to log on to your portal – see what’s happening – and start planning your next steps. If you want to take more proactive action, our 24/7 call centre can take action on any compromised registered cards, phone numbers or passports. This is a different product to Identity Watch, it’s called Secure Sentinel, but it’s all part of the same family. Just register for it here if this interests you.
What should I do if I think my identity has been stolen and I don’t have Identity Watch?
It can happen to anyone. Your information could be stolen online, you could lose your wallet or a company you trust could have a data breach.
If you think someone has stolen your identity, you should act immediately:
- Check your statements for unauthorised transactions
- Cancel your credit card(s)
- Contact your bank
- Change your email address(es)
- Change passwords
- File a police report
- Place a ban on your credit report
Other steps to take include:
- Get an up to date copy of your credit report to confirm that the information on the file relates to applications for credit that you have made. Get a copy of your credit file here or if you're already a member you can order an adhoc credit report.
- Contact Equifax and put a ban on your credit report to help prevent fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. The ban period means that if a credit provider requests your credit report as part of an assessment of a credit application Equifax cannot share it unless you have provided express written consent or if it is required by law. The initial ban period is for 21 days and can be extended if you need.
- Contact any credit providers listed on your credit report to whom you have not applied for credit so that they can investigate and take appropriate and prompt action. If you don’t recognise the company that made the enquiry contact them to request an investigation.
- Contact the police and report the crime.
Inform the relevant government agency if personal information is stolen. This includes your driver’s licence, passport, citizenship papers, Medicare card, birth, marriage and change-of-name certificates, tax file number, superannuation or pension.
What should I do if I get an Identity Watch alert?
Don’t panic, we’re with you. Log on to the secure members portal and go to the ALERTS tab. We will provide you with the information we have about what has been found to be compromised, with advice on what to do next. Or just contact us. We are here to help.
How are Identity Watch alerts different to Equifax Credit Alerts?
Credit Alerts let you know if there are certain changes made to your Credit File, this could be someone trying to apply for credit in your name. Equifax Credit Alerts can help protect your Equifax Score before any damage is done.
Identity Watch monitors criminal trading and selling of identity information such as phone numbers, email addresses and credit card numbers online. You’ll receive an alert if we discover your details are compromised, so you can proactively protect your identity.
How does Identity Watch work?
All you need to do is provide us with the information you would like monitored, such as credit or debit card numbers, phone numbers and email addresses. We then store this information securely in our system and use tools such as web crawlers and forum extraction to locate possible compromised data online.
If Identity Watch finds that your identity has been compromised, it will automatically send you an email alert so you can take action straight away. We will also provide you with assistance on what steps to take to help recover your identity with our Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance.
How is Identity Watch different to what my bank does?
Identity Watch works to prevent identity theft before it occurs. It monitors your details – such as credit and debit card numbers, phone numbers and email addresses – not your transactions.
While your bank or credit card company may do a great job of letting you know when your account has been used overseas or for an excessive number of transactions, they do not actively search for evidence that your details have been compromised in the first place.
Our advanced technology gives us a very good indication of where to look for illegally traded information online. If we believe a cybercrime relating to your identity may have taken place, we will contact you immediately