Identity theft is becoming increasingly common and there are a multitude of ways in which identity theft can take place.
Here are some easy steps you can take to prevent some of the more common threats to your identity:
- Keep personal documents secured.
Identity thieves can go through your rubbish bins or, in fact, find sensitive information about you from documents you discard anywhere.
Personal details found in discarded documents are very useful for identity thieves as they may be able to use those details to set up bank, phone or other accounts under your name. The details that are useful for ID fraudsters include name, address, date of birth, drivers licence number, passport number, bank details, contact details, etc.
To ensure your details are not copied from documents, ensure anything sensitive that you discard is shredded or destroyed. Also make sure your letterbox is secure so that mail coming to you is not intercepted – consider getting a PO box if your letterbox is difficult to secure. Also ensure you have a home security system to help prevent burglaries.
- Redirect all mail when changing address
An identity thief may not even have to go through your rubbish to get access to your documents – your mail might go straight to him or her at home!
If you fail to update your address with entities that send you mail when you move home and a cunning fraudster moves into your old property, he or she may get access to all sorts of useful personal information. Sometimes, all it takes to perpetrate identity fraud are a handful of your details so you will need to ensure you direct ALL your mail to your new address.
Australia Post can arrange a redirection of your mail for you in case you forget to change your details with every relevant entity – see here for more details.
Also, if your phone is secure, consider photographing each piece of mail you receive in the months prior to your departure from an address so you can keep a record of what updates need to be made.
- Be wary of unsolicited messages online
Identity thieves may get access to your personal details through digital means. Primarily this will take place via some form of messaging service, such as email or SMS.
If you click on a link or open an attachment in a malicious email, your computer or smartphone could be compromised by malware, leaving your accounts and details vulnerable. Likewise, if you click on a link that takes you to a phishing site then you could be tricked into sharing your details with a fraudster – you can learn more about phishing here.
Do not interact with an email, SMS or indeed any message you receive that is unsolicited or unexpected. In fact, treat all digital communications you receive with caution and consider whether they are genuine before you click on a link or open an attachment.
If you have reason to believe that your details have been compromised, get in touch immediately with a private investigator who can learn about your particular circumstances and provide advice about how to help.
Contact Lyonswood Investigations today.