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Reduce ID Theft by using strong, unique passwords for each online account. There are a few tricks to creating strong passwords:

Top Tips:

  • Avoid using your name, birthdate, or ‘dictionary words,’ such as “turtle.” Turn it into a phrase instead: “turtleistired”
  • Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols
  • Consider mixing in words from different languages.
  • Enable two-factor authentication.

#6 Shred bills and bank statements – everything

The same people that check mail boxes will check rubbish bins too. They are looking for bank statements, utility bills, old loyalty or government cards (Medicare), envelopes, packages and letters with your name and address on them, signatures, credit card slips etc. They are also looking for airline boarding passes, upmarket brand packages, delivery dockets etc.

If you are an ID Theft target (and higher net worth individuals are) don’t throw anything in the bin that could be linked to your growing dark web profile.

Identity theft for high net worth

ACTION:

After checking bills credit reports, tax returns, receipts and more shred them.

Top tips: Go to Officeworks and buy a shredder. Now a word of advice from someone with 40-years ownership experience. Unless you have very few pieces of paper to shred monthly no strip shredder under $100 will last more than a couple of years and they are not secure.

You are looking for a cross or micro cut (into little pieces to P5 level security) with a reasonable sheet capacity (6+ A4 80gsm sheets at a time), bin capacity (15l at least), forward and reverse buttons, credit card slot, and run time of at least 10-minutes (rest time can be up to 45 minutes before you can shred again).

identity theft
This type of shredder does not provide security

#7 Be careful with links in email or SMS

Cybercriminals use spear phishing. These emails or SMS that look like they come from your friends or colleagues. How do they know who your friends are and what your interests are? These are AI and machine learning driven using data from your social media, dumpster diving and more.

ID theft phishing

These emails may suggest you click on a link to see a funny <insert cat, dog, animal> or purport to be from the Australian Tax Office, Australia Post or local businesses.

In the past they were riddled with spelling errors and ‘chinglish’ but today they are damned authentic using a majority of a legitimate email with a poisoned link.

ACTION:

If you get an email look at the sender’s email address – although these can be spoofed or sent from a hijacked email account.

Don’t click on any links. Instead, hover your mouse over the link to see a destination URL. Be aware of overly long URLS that may look right but are not, e.g. www.telstra.billing.accounts.com/ is not Telstra but Accounts.com!

On Android of iPhone or Android device, long tap to see the destination URL. This simple step can help you to avoid walking right into malware, viruses or phishing scams.

Top tip: If it’s a fake email, let the business or person know so they can warn others.

Also send a copy to Scamwatch so they know what is going on.