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Updated by April Rose Casiple Semogan on Nov 27, 2019
Headline for 9 Outstanding Tips On How To Handle Identity Theft You Should Know
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9 Outstanding Tips On How To Handle Identity Theft You Should Know

The internet has opened up many opportunities for everyone. It is easier to reach out to your friends and family. You can shop with just a click of the mouse. However, this includes criminals, especially identity thieves. Here's a comprehensive guide on how you can handle identity theft.

Report to the police.

If someone is using your identity, you should immediately report it to the authorities or the police. Ask for a police reference number and get a copy of the police report. These will come in handy for when you are handling your accounts in banks, financial institutions and government agencies.

Inform the authorities about the theft of any of your cards or identity information.

Legally, you are required to report any suspected theft or fraudulent use of your identity information. You should get in touch with the government or private sector organisation who issued the document and let them know if this information has been lost or stolen.

You should get a copy of your credit report.

If you think that someone may be using your identity information to borrow money fraudulently, you should get a copy of your credit report. Alert major credit reporting agencies that you are a victim of identity theft.

Prevent the usage of your credit information.

You can ask credit reporting agencies not to use or disclose your credit reporting information. The credit reporting agency can put a 21-day ban on the use or disclosure of your credit reporting information upon request. The 21 days in which your data cannot be disclosed is called the ban period.

During this period, the credit reporting agency will not provide your credit report to any credit providers unless you have given written consent.

Close all the affected accounts and services.

If you receive any unauthorised accounts or services that you did not request, then you should cancel them right away. Keep a record of all the accounts and services that you cancelled. If you are demanded to pay for goods or services that you did not avail, then it is time for you to get legal advice.

You should do the same thing if your email or social media accounts are compromised. You should close the affected accounts and report any security breaches. Most sites have a protocol for compromised accounts. They have detailed information of how to handle these scenarios on their platform.

Check your mailing address.

If there are any redirect that has not been placed on your mailing address, you should check with Australia Post or any other postal services. You should also contact any government or private organisations that may have your address and confirm your details.

You should contact the financial institution or utility provider if anyone borrows money or runs up a bill with a utility provider using your information. Inform them that did not enter into a contract with them.

You need to explain the situation to these institutions. Inform them that you are a victim of identity theft. You can give them a copy of any police reports or Commonwealth Victim’s Certificate you might have.

  • If they gave you a response that you do not agree with, you could make a complaint to the:
  • Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman—for complaints about telephone or internet bills
  • Energy and Water Ombudsman—for energy and water bills
  • Australian Financial Complaints Authority—for finance contracts.

For sure, you are going to need some legal advice.

Contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.

You can contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner if you think your privacy is compromised. You can also get in touch with them if an agency or organisation misuse your personal information.

The Office of the Information Commissioner can also help you if you can’t resolve any complaints or matters with an individual agency or organisation.

Seek Legal Advice.

Yes, you will need legal advice, especially if someone is using your identity to open accounts or avail services and products. The identity thief may also inflict some damages onto your reputation. You would want to ask a lawyer how to fix these damages.