Identity fraud is often a two-stage process where your personal details are stolen and then used for financial gain or other criminal activity. You might be left with debt, a poor credit rating or other legal implications as a result.
Personal information such as your name, address, date of birth or bank account details can be obtained by criminals in a number of ways including phishing, hacking and document theft.
This is when a criminal tricks you into handing over your personal information via email or phone.
By exploiting security weaknesses on your computer, mobile phone or network, criminals gain access to your information through social media sites or other websites you visit and share information on.
Document theft is when criminals access your private information through unlocked mailboxes or personal documents that you've thrown away like utility bills, insurance renewals or health records.
7 tips to protect yourself from identity theft
- Don't open suspicious messages – delete them.
- Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites.
- Secure your networks and devices with anti-virus software and a good firewall.
- Put a lock on your mailbox and redirect mail when you move.
- Shred documents containing personal information before you throw them away.
- If a new card or product arrives in the mail that you didn't apply for, call the bank it came from immediately.
- Regularly check your credit file.
Credit or debit card fraud happens when criminals:
- copy the information stored on your card’s magnetic strip (known as skimming) to access your funds
- steal your card, or use your lost one, to make purchases or withdraw cash
- intercept your card in the post.
A dishonest retailer could also commit card fraud by making unauthorised transactions on your card.
Card fraud can happen just as easily overseas as in Australia, so stay vigilant wherever you are.
10 tips to protect yourself from card fraud
- Memorise your Personal Identification Number (PIN), avoid using the same PIN for all your cards, and choose a PIN that’s hard to guess (so not your birthday or anything simple like 0000).
- Check your statements and call us if you notice any unusual activity.
- Keep your cards in your sight, e.g. when paying in a restaurant, don’t let your server take your card away.
- Sign your card in ink as soon as you get a new one.
- Keep track of when new and reissued cards should arrive, and call us if they don’t come on time.
- Ensure your mailbox is secure so that only you and the postal carrier can access it.
- Tear up or shred card receipts and pre-approved credit card offers before you throw them away.
- Keep your ANZ statements in a safe place, or better still, switch to paperless banking.
- Only shop on secure websites. Look for a small key or padlock symbol in your browser’s address bar.
- Never give your card number to strangers or telemarketers who phone you. Only give your card number if you made the call.
Cheque fraud is when someone:
- changes a cheque’s amount or payee details without authority
- steals a cheque and then alters it
- makes copies of a cheque
- uses false invoices to get cheques sent to them
- deposits a cheque into someone else’s account without authority
- pays by cheque knowing there are insufficient funds in the account.
Cheque fraud prevention
If you’re a business owner, find out more about protecting yourself from cheque fraud.
Find out more
11 tips to protect yourself from cheque fraud
- Settle your accounts regularly and on time.
- Never sign blank cheques. Only sign them once all the details are complete.
- Avoid leaving gaps in the payee’s name, and write the amount in words and in figures.
- Keep your chequebook in a secure place to avoid theft.
- Tear up or shred any cheques you’ve made a mistake on.
- Use electronic payments (if possible) for high-value amounts.
- Secure your postal mailbox.
- Limit the number of signatories on your account.
- Make sure invoices are valid before paying them.
- Ensure your signature’s not on any documents that the general public can access.
- Contact us immediately if your cheque’s been lost or stolen and ask us to stop payment on it.