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Fraud & Identity crime

Fraudulent behavior or fraud is an act that is dishonest or deceitful in order to obtain some unjust advantage over someone else.

Fraudulent acts can involve theft, making false statements, evasion, manufacturing information or acts of omission

Identity Theft
Identity theft is the theft and use of identifying personal information of a person, whether the person is dead or alive and whether it is with or without the permission of that person.

How can it happen?
The most common form of identity theft in Australia is by theft of mail, however there are a number of other ways it can occur. 

For example you ...
• might have your credit card details skimmed when you make a purchase, 

• lose your wallet or other personal effects, or have them stolen. 

• you could inadvertently provide your details by phone or email to what you think are legitimate businesses or have your personal information stolen from an unsecured website. 

• Perhaps most unexpected of all, you could have your identity stolen and used by someone you know and trust – a friend, relative or work colleague.

Preventing ID Theft
• Secure all your personal information at home in a lockable filing cabinet or safe

• Remove all personal documents such as registration papers, drivers licences or utility bills from your car, including your glove box

• Avoid giving personal information over the phone, by mail or on the internet. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with before you give out personal information

• Only provide the minimum information necessary. Don’t be afraid to say NO!

• Carry minimal personal information on you. Never take documents like your passport or birth certificate outside your home unless you really have to

• Ensure you destroy all personal information before placing old bills, bank records or expired cards in the rubbish – tear, cut, shred or burn them

• Use passwords on all your important accounts. Passwords help provide extra protection to important information such as credit card and bank accounts, phone and other utility accounts

• Use a password that is not personal ie. Name of child or dog

• Secure your mail. Ensure you have a lockable letterbox and only post mail at secure, official post boxes. Make sure your mail box is large enough to accept and hold mail in the quantity and size you normally get. Remove mail daily and if you are going away, have it collected by a neighbour or held at the post office.

• Check billing and account records. By carefully checking all transactions on your banking and credit card accounts, you may be able to detect potential identity fraud early. Follow up if your bills or accounts don’t arrive on time. Missing records or accounts could indicate that your accounts have been taken by a thief  who has changed your billing address

• Keep a list of all your account and credit card details in a safe place. Also make a list of contact numbers in case those account details are stolen, or if you lose your wallet or purse. It is important to act quickly if personal information is compromised

• Remove your name from mailing lists. If you receive mail addressed to you from companies you have not had any dealings with or received pre-approved credit cards that you did not apply for, do not just throw these in the rubbish and forget about them. Contact the company or credit provider making the offer and ask that your name be removed from any further mailing lists. Ensure these documents are then destroyed.

If you receive a bad credit rating after someone has taken over your identity, it can take up to 6 months and $4000 to clear your name.

Reporting Identity Theft
Identity theft should be reported to the local police. You will need to provide all documentation necessary to assist the police in investigating the crime. Depending on how your identity has been used, you may also need to contact a range of other organisations. For example, driver licence stolen – contact VicRoads; credit card stolen or new account opened – finance provider (bank etc); utility providers and retail stores. Contact the organisations concerned as you may be required to provide written documentation to each of them to support your case and to establish that you are not liable for any debts accumulated in your name.

The Australian Government ID Theft Kit provides a detailed package about identity theft. Contact the Attorney General/s office or go to