How your online identity can be stolen
Online identity theft is increasingly common. It can occur in a number of ways. For example, if someone creates or uses a profile on a social networking site under a fake name or by using someone else’s personal information, it is identity theft. Some social networking sites have rules to avoid identity theft. Profiles that break those rules can be removed from the site.
Perhaps an identity thief has hacked into your online accounts. This can happen when an identity thief gets hold of your password, the answers to your security questions or your login information. It can also happen through computer viruses.
How to protect yourself from identity theft
There are many sources of information on how to protect your personal information particularly online, including:
- Office of the eSafety Commissioner
- ThinkUKnow for information on how to protect young people’s privacy online
- Australian Signals Directorate Protect yourself
- Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on identity fraud
- The Australian Federal Police website has information on cybercrime and videos you can watch to learn more.
Who should you tell if someone has stolen your identity?
If someone has stolen your identity to access your money, contact your bank or credit society and the police immediately.
Visit the ReportCyber to securely report instances of cybercrime (such as hacking, online scams, online fraud, identity theft and attacks on computer systems). It also has information on how to recognise and avoid common forms of cybercrime.
If someone is using your identity on a social networking site such as Facebook or Twitter, report it to the website administrator. If you are a child, tell an adult.
Where can you get support as a victim of possible or actual identity theft?
If you think your personal information is at risk, for example, because you have lost or had your purse or wallet stolen and your personal information is at risk or there has been a data breach, you may be able to get assistance from IDCARE on 1800 595 160 Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm AEDT. IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s free and anonymous national identity theft support service. IDCARE will work with you to develop an action plan to deal with your situation.
Reviewed: 24 January 2024