How criminals steal your identity info to take your money

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Scams reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) involving identity theft or the loss of personal/banking information have cost Australians at least $16 million this year, and this figure is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg.

Four in 10 Scamwatch reports in 2019 involve attempts to gain information or the actual loss of victims’ personal details.

“If you think scammers might have gained access to your personal information, even in a scam completely unrelated to your finances, immediately contact your bank,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.

“Timeliness in alerting your financial institution is absolutely crucial and will give you the best possible chance at recovering your funds.”

Some of the ways scammers obtain personal or banking information are:

  • phishing emails and text messages that impersonate banks or utility providers seeking your login details
  • fake online quizzes and surveys
  • fake job advertisements
  • remote access scams in which the scammer has direct access to everything on your computer
  • sourcing information about you from social media platforms
  • direct requests for scans of your driver’s license or passport, often in the course of a dating and romance scam.

“No one is really selling an iPhone for $1 or rewarding the completion of a survey with expensive electronic goods or large gift vouchers. They’re scams to get your valuable personal information,” Ms Rickard said.

“The identity thieves can make victims’ lives a nightmare. They’ll change the victims’ phone carrier so they lose service and set up mail redirections so they’re in the dark about what’s going on.”

Scammers can empty victims’ bank accounts, take out tens of thousands of dollars in bank loans under victims’ names, and purchase expensive furniture or electronics under ‘no-repayments for 12 months’ schemes.

Lost personal information also leaves victims more susceptible to future scams. Scammers will use the victim’s personal information to seem more convincing in cold calls.

“The trick is to be alert to the signs. If your mobile phone suddenly loses coverage, you haven’t received expected electronic or physical mail, or you receive unexpected notifications from a financial institution, call your bank.”

If you have been the victim of identity theft, contact IDCARE on 1300 432 273. IDCARE can guide you through the steps to reclaim your identity.

People can also report a scam to the ACCC via Scamwatch.

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Written by Ben

29 Comments

Total Comments: 29
  1. 0
    0

    The LNP Government is stealing our money every day through an inflated Deeming Rate for cash Term Deposits. How can we launch a criminal prosecution into these thieves?

  2. 0
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    Remember Adsick only take your details they like the rest do nothing..this helps the bank’s to assist the scammers. You can’t close down a website without a Police report..Police tell you to contact Acorn who take your details and then do nothing..Always check the e mail address on top of each email to see if it came from Paypal Netfles etc or [email protected] scam mail.com

  3. 0
    0

    Does that mean that I won’t be getting the $12,000,000 USD a deceased politician in Nigeria whose relatives want to to use my bank account to get the money out of the country and will cut me in for $2,000,000 ? damn.

  4. 0
    0

    Does that mean that I won’t be getting the $12,000,000 USD a deceased politician in Nigeria whose relatives want to to use my bank account to get the money out of the country and will cut me in for $2,000,000 ? damn.

  5. 0
    0

    I have a fear of identity theft and my social media is very limited with false information and no access allowed. We shred everything that has any sort of ID on it. I do not open any emails from senders that I’m unsure of and certainly no attachments. I hope that my efforts will make it extremely difficult for scammers but I wonder if anyone of us is safe.

    • 0
      0

      I don’t think any one is safe, OM, I am careful like you, but I got scammed last year. Luckily I managed to deflect them and contacted my bank so they had no access to my accounts. They would have been terribly disappointed anyway, as there is never enough in there to make their efforts worthwhile!

  6. 0
    0

    Beware of scammers who claim to be from VISA Security. They will tell you that your VISA card has been used for payment to a third party – usually in the USA. In order to (allegedly) refund your account they will ask for your card details. Hang up!

  7. 0
    0

    None of are safe from scammers. When in doubt delete any contact and inform ACC. Just need to be on guard

  8. 0
    0

    None of are safe from scammers. When in doubt delete any contact and inform ACC. Just need to be on guard

  9. 0
    0

    Scammers are only people with a business idea just like a banker or an insurance salesman.

  10. 0
    0

    Scammers are only people with a business idea just like a banker or an insurance salesman.

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