Just like you wouldn’t leave your cash lying around for thieves to get their hands on, putting your personal information online exposes you to the same risk.
Most individuals treat their personal documents, such as their passport, License, Medicare number and birth certificate, with care. They are kept in a safe place, and not given to unknown or untrusted people. The same principle applies to personal details you share with others online. This information can be used to impersonate you.
A stolen identity can give them access to your bank account, credit cards, and loans under your name. They can claim your tax return or welfare benefits, and can ruin your credit rating.
Social Check’s Top Tips to Protecting your Identity Online:
- Set a strong password (that contains a random combination of numbers, letters and punctuation) and do not share it with anyone!
- Review your account records carefully and regularly, to detect identity theft early.
- Use a separate email address for online purchases and subscriptions.
- Only share your primary email address with people you know.
- Be careful when signing up to mailing lists because spammers often use the ‘unsubscribe’ button to validate addresses.
- Before you fill out online forms, ask yourself ‘how much information do I need to enter into this site?
- Take note of what information you have given to others, and when you gave it to them.
How much personal information online puts you at risk?
- You are at high risk to identity theft when you share your personal address, contact numbers, email, and D.O.B online.
- If you use social networking sites, set your privacy and security settings to control what you want to share, or not share, so people are restricted to what personal information they can see.
- Think about the information you have across your social media presence. Don’t forget, identity thieves can compile all of your publicly available information and use it against you.
Has your Identity has been stolen? Don’t Panic!
- Tell your bank
- Change all your passwords
- Notify relevant websites you are a part of
- Request a credit check from credit organisations
- Call the police and lodge a report
- Notify the Australian Tax Office (if you are an Australian citizen)
The Social Check Team