Identity Fraud

All victims agreed to share their story when submitting their report to Scamwatch and their personal details have been changed.

Identity fraud – victim lost $6028
On 2 May 2018 I received an SMS informing me that my mobile number is being ported to a different network provider. As I have not authorised this, I contacted my mobile provider to find out why my number is being ported. I immediately realised what was going on and phoned my bank. Whilst on the phone, I tried logging in to my internet banking, but to no avail. As I was talking to the bank, I started receiving e-mails about my personal details being changed and the PIN to the credit card was being changed. I ordered this credit card on 27 April 2018. It was supposed to be delivered to my address, but have not received the card to date. I told the consultant that my credit card just got activated and that the PIN has been changed. The consultant started blocking my accounts and cards. However, the following day when I went to the bank, they realised that the fraudster managed to lift the block, and maxed out my credit card. The fraudsters have stolen my identity to create a new mobile account at the different network provider, hacked my internet banking account, and stole funds.

What were some signs that this was a scam?
- The first sign of the scam was the SMS advising the victim their number was being ported to another provider.
- The victim never received their new credit card in the mail.

What are some things the victim could have done to have avoided the scam?
- Unfortunately Identity theft can happen as soon as a fraudster gets access to your personal information and/or identity documents. In this case the victim may have been able to avoid the scam by having a lock on their mailbox.
- The victim did the right thing by contacting their bank immediately and blocking their accounts, and contacting their mobile provider to explain they did not authorise their number to be ported.

Below are some tips to avoid identity theft:
- Never give bank account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Choose passwords that would be difficult to guess, and update them regularly. Don't use the same password for every account, and don't share them with anyone.
- Secure your networks and devices with anti-virus software and a good firewall. Avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access or provide personal information.
- Don’t share personal information on social network sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity.
- When making online payments, only pay for items using a secure payment service—look for a URL starting with ‘https’ and a closed padlock symbol, or a payment provider such as PayPal.
- Put a lock on your mailbox and shred any documents containing personal information before disposing of them.
- Get a free copy of your credit report from the ASIC MoneySmart website. Your credit report contains information on your credit history and is useful for checking that no one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.

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