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

Steps to protect your identity online

  • Use strong passwords and don't share them 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 and secure payment pages.
  • 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 have 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 of identity theft, stalking and harassment. This includes information you post on social media.
  • 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 what information you may have online that is spread across multiple sites. Identity thieves can piece together your identity from public information piece by piece like putting together a puzzle.

What to do if your identity has been stolen

  • Notify your financial institutions.
  • Change your passwords.
  • Notify the relevant websites.
  • Request a credit report from a reputable credit reference bureau.

Where to get help

What Contact
Fraudulent use of your identity
  • your social networking service provider
  • Your local police.
Harassment or bullying on a social networking site
Sexual exploitation or other criminal activity
  • your local police
  • Crimestoppers: 1800 333 000
  • ACORN.
Report a scam
You are looking for more technical information to solve a problem
  • your device manufacturer's website
  • Whirlpool or other discussion forums
  • a professional IT service provider.
Information on recent threats Sign up to the free Stay Smart Online Alert Service

A full list of useful contacts can be found on the Contact us page.

Find out more: