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 will I receive an alert?
Via email. We will never put your personal details in the email – it will just be an alert asking you to quickly log in and see what is going on. And then we can work together on ways to stop your identity being compromised any further.
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 often do my details get monitored?
Your details are monitored 24/7. That means now. And now. And now … get the picture? If any information is found to be compromised we will send an alert straight away.
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.
How do I restore my identity with Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance?
Equifax’s Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance supports you if you’ve become a victim of identity fraud. It’ll help you with the cost of restoring your identity and reduce the impact and risk associated with loss and theft. It may also help minimise the stress and grief of restoring your identity and regaining control over your finances.
It also provides you with much-needed funds while you get back on your feet – reducing the impact and risk associated with loss and theft.
Click here to read our Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance Policy Information Booklet.
Use credit alerts to flag identity theft
(1) Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance is underwritten by AIG Australia Limited (ABN 93 004 727 753)(AFSL 381686). When eligible, Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance may provide you with up to AUD$15,000 per annum for out-of-pocket expenses in relation to restoring your identity. Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to Your Credit and Identity Guard Insurance Policy Information Booklet.
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.