How To Deal With Identity Fraud?

Identity Fraud

In Australia, identity fraud is generally considered to occur when an individual uses the personal information of another to deceive people or businesses for personal gain. It is possible to commit identity fraud without identity theft, but the two are generally linked.
Most identity fraud is committed for the purpose of deceiving people and businesses to obtain money or services. For example, you may find that a person has created fraudulent documents to gain access to buildings and other places when they have no right to be there. This type of fraud can include gaining access to homes, buildings, and other secured premises. In many cases, the identities of real people are used to create these false documents. Using the actual details of a real person gives the fraudulent person more credibility if their documents are checked. Consider the case where a building inspector is visiting a work site. If the fraudster uses the real name of an actual building inspector and the people on-site check their name, it’ll provide a positive match. Only later, when a more detailed examination finally occurs, will the fraudulent identity be uncovered.
The first step to watching out for identity fraud is knowing how to check if someone is using your identity. By keeping vigilant and doing all we can to stop our credentials from getting into the hands of others, identity theft and fraud will become less attractive to criminals. If you do suspect that you’re the victim of a stolen identity, you’ll need to know what steps to take to resolve the problem. At Equifax, we can provide guidance and insurance against identity fraud as a part of our subscription service.


What is identity fraud?


Identity fraud occurs when someone uses another person’s identity for personal gain. This may involve ID theft to purchase items where a licence or age requirement applies (explosives, alcohol, etc.). Anyone using your data in this manner is considered a criminal and may be subject to prosecution. The severity of the fraud is related to the details of the privacy breach and what current laws are in place.
It can also be considered fraudulent if someone lies about their true identity. For example, a person may want to compete in a senior sporting tournament, but they will lie about their actual age. If they compete but cannot later prove their identity and actual age, they may be found to have committed fraud. These fraudulent activities take time and money away from businesses and individuals supplying goods and services.
All identity crime is considered a threat to the way we live. Fraud involving identity theft can be costly for individuals, companies, and government agencies. Only by keeping a close watch on your identification and any activity relating to loans or banking details can you stop any attempts at identity theft.
If you or your family members are victims of personal data theft, you should report the identity theft to the police and other relevant government agencies. Victims of identity theft may have a challenging time clearing their names. Still, the sooner you take action, the sooner you can remain safe from criminal identity theft and other cybercrimes.


What are the consequences of identity fraud?


The consequences of identity fraud rely on the damage the perpetrators have done. If your wallet was stolen and someone used your driver’s licence to buy alcohol illegally, then you may only need to report your licence as being stolen and order a new one. Anytime you ‘lose’ your wallet, you’ll need to make sure all your cards inside are cancelled and renewed.
For more severe identity theft cases, you may find that people have taken out loans in your name and have not paid them. While losses from this type of activity can sometimes be covered by the banks and lenders that approved the loans, it may still have consequences for your credit rating. If your identity is stolen and you do not report it quickly, or you did not show reasonable care, then you may be held responsible. For example, you left your wallet on a bench in the gym while working out, and someone took your ID. You may have acted recklessly and could be deemed responsible for any losses in this situation.
In addition to financial issues, someone can use your identity for serious criminal activities. These can include using your details to buy and use a vehicle in a smash-and-grab robbery or starting a business in your name and using it to mislead others into investing in it. With identity theft and fraud, the actual consequences often come from the amount of time it can take to clear your name rather than the financial costs.


How to deal with identity fraud?


The first step to protecting yourself against identity theft and fraud is to watch your accounts and credit history. Take note of anything that appears out of the ordinary, and talk to the bank for clarification on any purchases you may not recognise. If you think your card has been stolen or lost, report it immediately. It is better to confirm than assume it’s a mistake but find out later that it’s a much bigger problem associated with identity theft.
Having a copy of your credit report will show you any activity occurring under your name. If you find any incorrect information in your report, contact the relevant agency. Maintaining a good credit score is vital to make sure you can obtain funds from lenders when you need them, such as when buying a home or a new vehicle. You can follow our guide for checking your credit score and subscribe for monthly reporting on any activity.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a finance professional such as an adviser.