Top tip: Going on holiday? Call the post office to put your mail on hold. And change bills from snail mail to email.
#3 Monitor your credit and finances
With cash almost a thing of the past most simply flash the card. Make sure that at least weekly you look at your financial bank statements online and quickly query any that you don’t remember. If you are quick the bank usually refunds you for credit card or online scams.
But how do you know you are not already a victim of identity theft? Identity theft can go undetected for months (usual) or even years (if you are a sucker).
Identity theft may be to get a loan – and the cybercriminal simply does not make repayment. Often it takes a few months for debt collectors to knock at your door.
ID Theft may be used to get a pension or the dole or a Drivers Licence.
A good place to start is to obtain a copy of your credit report. You can get a free copy from from the major credit bureaus in Australia: Equifax, illion, Tasmanian Collection Service (Tasmanians ony) and Experian. All will produce a similar report, so you only need to use one! And you should check annually if you are worried.
This report tracks your financial accounts and loans, so you’ll be able to spot any suspicious activity. ASIC has a good fact sheet here.
Top tip: If you’d rather leave it to the experts, you can enrol in a credit monitoring service for a fee from the above providers.
#4 Install security software
Cyberthieves often use malware, spyware or keyloggers to scan and collect sensitive information from your computer. Sometimes, these applications are so sophisticated that they go undetected, so it’s really important to protect your tech with security software.
There are lots of good anti-virus/malware products that can asset in reducing identity theft. The include Norton, McAfee, Trend Micro, Kaspersky, and more.
Stop skimping by using free antivirus – it may cover part of the threat but definitely not all. You need layered protection on Windows, Android, and even macOS and iOS.
Top tip: Don’t skip software updates!
#5 Come up with complex passwords
Passwords are the weakest link. Using the same generical password across multiple accounts is like giving the cybercriminal a master key! Better still implement multi-factor authentication where a code is sent to your smartphone before you can access an online account.
And cybercriminals now use AI and machine learning to try variants of the same password – and are having a huge success rate.