Protect your identity and privacy

mTreat your personal information as you would treat your money - don't leave it lying around for others to take.

Most people are very careful with personal documents such as a birth certificate or driver's licence. You keep them in a safe place and wouldn't give them to someone you didn't know or trust.

You should do the same thing with your personal information online to prevent others from using this information to impersonate you.

With a stolen identity, a person may access your bank account, obtain credit cards or loans in your name or claim welfare benefits, and potentially ruin your credit rating.

Top tips

  • Stop and think before you share any personal or financial information-about you, your friends or family. Don't disclose identity information (drivers licence, Medicare No, birth date, address) through email or online unless you have initiated the contact and you know the other person involved.
  • If you use social networking sites, adjust your privacy settings to control the amount and type of information you want to share, so that people you don't know very well can only see certain parts of your profile.
  • Don't give your email address out without needing to. Think about why you are providing it, what the benefit is for you and whether it will mean you are sent emails you don't want.
  • Before giving your email address online read the website privacy policy. This should tell you how they will use the email address you provide.
  • If you often use your email address online you may want to have a secondary email account. Use you primary email with friends and businesses you know and trust.
  • Set strong passwords, particularly for important online accounts and change them regularly-consider making a diary entry to remind yourself.

On this page

  • Steps to protect your identity online
  • Be careful how much personal information you post or reveal online
  • What to do if your identity has been stolen

Fact sheets and resources


braveheartsBravehearts Inc.

Bravehearts Inc. have developed a video encouraging young people to think about the personal information they provide online.

Are you cyber safe?


video placeholder 3Smart behaviours to protect your personal and financial information - watch our video on protecting your personal and financial information. A text transcript is also available.

PDF-Protecting-Yourself-Online-Second-Edition-Booklet-1The Attorney-General's Department has published the second edition of the Protecting Yourself Online booklet and the Protecting Your Identity booklet:


Protecting Yourself Online- What Everyone Needs to Know (PDF, 2.7 MB)

Protecting Yourself Online- What Everyone Needs to Know (RTF, 1.1 MB)

Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know


Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know [PDF, 985.2 KB]

Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know [DOC, 263.5 KB]

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

The office of the Australian Information Commissioner has developed 10 steps for protecting your personal information.

10 Steps for protecting your personal information

Steps to protect your identity online

  • Use a strong password and do not share it with anyone. A random combination of numbers, letters and punctuation over eight characters long is recommended.
  • Check your billing and account records carefully to detect potential identity theft early.
  • Set up a separate email address for shopping and newsgroups. If you need to, you can then change this address without disrupting online business activities.
  • Only share your primary email address with people you know.
  • Be careful when signing up to mailing lists - spammers use the unsubscribe button to validate addresses.
  • Only make online purchases from companies that have a clear privacy policy.
  • Think before you fill out online forms. Ask yourself, how much information do I need to enter into this site?
  • Keep a record of what information you've given to whom.

Be careful how much personal information you post or reveal online

  • Users who share addresses, telephone numbers, birthdays, and other personal information put themselves at a greater risk for identity theft, stalking and harassment. This includes information you may post on your Facebook wall or someone else's.
  • If you use social networking sites, adjust your privacy settings to control the amount and type of information you want to share, so that people you don't know very well can only see certain parts of your profile.
  • Think about information spread across multiple sites as people can piece together information from separate websites. Identity thieves can piece together your identity from public information piece by piece like putting together a jigsaw.

What to do if your identity has been stolen

  • Notify financial institutions.
  • Change passwords.
  • Notify relevant websites.
  • Request a credit report from credit bureaus.
  • Notify the authorities. A list of who to contact is included in the Protect Yourself Online-What everybody Needs to Know brochure published by the Attorney-General's department.

PDF-Protecting-Yourself-Online-Second-Edition-Booklet-1

Protecting Yourself Online- What Everyone Needs to Know (PDF, 2.7 MB)

Protecting Yourself Online- What Everyone Needs to Know (RTF, 1.1 MB)

Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know

Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know [PDF, 985.2 KB]

Protecting Your Identity' booklet – What Everyone Needs to Know [DOC, 263.5 KB]

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  • Tip:

    Don’t share your passwords with anyone.