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Five simple ways to protect your family from identity theft

19 September 2018

We often see a rise in scam activity during tax time, with more people lodging their tax returns and Business Activity Statements online. Cybercriminals work hard to get their hands on your personal details, which they then use to steal your identity!

Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself and your family:

Know what to protect

Scammers can steal your identity if they get hold of information like your full name, date of birth, address, bank account numbers, credit card details, tax file number, drivers licence or passport details, and any passwords. So it’s important to keep this information safe!

Remind your family to keep their personal information safe and secure

If personal information is stolen it can be very difficult to get back. It’s best to store things like your tax file number or birth certificate somewhere safe and secure so cybercriminals can’t get their hands on them!

Warn your family if they share too much on social media

Scammers can use information from social media posts to steal identities. It’s a good idea to make sure social media profiles are set to private, and to be cautious about which friend requests to accept. If you see someone sharing too much personal information online, remind them that they could be putting themselves at risk of targeted attacks.

Be suspicious of requests for personal information

Scammers often impersonate trusted agencies like the Australian Taxation Office to trick you into handing over your personal details. If someone in your family has received a suspicious request, tell them to treat it with caution. These requests can come by email, phone and even social media. Scammers can sound believable and will sometimes quote some of your personal information (found on social media, for example) to sound authentic. To check if a call, email or SMS is really from the ATO, you can contact them directly on 1800 008 540.

Know legitimate ways to make payments

Scammers may threaten you to trick you into paying false tax debts via pre-paid gift cards or by sending money to non-ATO bank accounts. The ATO have a list of payment methods on their website. To check that a payment method is legitimate visit ato.gov.au/howtopay.

More information

Read more about protecting your personal information.

Get help

If you are concerned that your personal information has been compromised and misused, you can contact Australia's national identity and cyber support service, IDCare, on 1300 432 273 or use their free Cyber First Aid Kit.