Scams target you—protect your identity is the latest message from the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce. Did you know that some scams are not just out to steal your money—but also your identity?
We can all do a number of simple things to protect ourselves from identity theft and stay out of the scammers' traps.
1. Never give out personal information to someone you don't know or trust
Putting together a 'picture' of the person is the start of building up the use of their identity fraudulently. Don't make it easy! People you meet online or casually may not be people you can trust—don't give them personal information like your phone number or where you live, or important confirming evidence like children's and spouses' names or your mother's maiden name. Your personal information is valuable—take a bit of care who gets hold of it.
2. Don't just bin it—destroy old bills, records, or expired cards
Identity thieves will use all methods to build up a profile on people—including rummaging in your garbage for records of past purchases, expired credit and other cards, and telephone and utility bills. Don't help them out! Destroy these items by ripping them up or shredding them before you discard them. And be sure to check important bills like credit cards and account statements for activity that was not yours!
3. Check your credit report at least once a year
An easy way to make sure that fraudulent use of your identity has not occurred is to check your credit report from a reputable source. If you find that you have been marked as having unpaid accounts, for example, that you have never heard of, you might have become a victim of identity theft.
The ID Theft: Protecting Your Identity booklet has been released as a part of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce's fraud awareness campaign 'Scams Target You: Protect Yourself'.