Identity theft is a real threat, and in this day and age, you can never be too careful with your personal details.

Experts confirm that identity theft is indeed on the rise as fraudsters finding new ways to access and use information illegally.
Rachael Falk, CEO of the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre, it is as simple as your name, date of birth and postal address can be exploited by complete strangers.

Store owner Denish Alfred says he was a victim of identity theft after his shop was robbed and a USB digital storage device containing personal information taken. Mr Alfred said that information included his bank details, house details, citizenship certificate and drivers’ licence. Weeks later Ms Alfred received a fine for a toll road in Sydney for a car that was somehow registered in his name. A $14,000 charge then appeared on his credit card, followed by the removal of tens of thousands of dollars from the balance.

“And then I check my bank loan, home loan, they are withdrawing money from the home loan, putting in my credit card, taking from the credit card,” Mr Alfred said. All up, the thieves managed to steal $80,000. Ms Falk said in most cases you can protect against incidents like this by keeping a lock on your letterbox and by refusing to giving your personal details away to callers, even if they claim to be from your bank or the government.

Experts have also warned to be wary of some text messages. “Never respond directly to a text message or email that you might receive that says there’s a security problem. Consumers are also advised to refrain from sharing sensitive personal information when joining mailing lists and loyalty clubs.

“You don’t know how secure their systems that are holding that data,” Ms Falk said. “You don’t have to give your date of birth. You can always put in a different date.”

Experts suggest avoiding entering such details into forms that aren’t secure. When in doubt, contact the service provider and provide your information over the phone instead. Experts also warn to be wary of free apps that can access your personal details, and to always check their reviews and regularly update your device. “If you’re worried that you’ve overshared with an app, there is something you can do,” Ms Falk said. “Delete the app.”

Business also beware of identity theft as your details can also be used against you or to be used to gain access to sensitive information.

If you are requiring information on protection from these types of attacks. We can review your current situation and offer solutions and training for you and your staff.

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