What’s identity fraud?

Identity fraud occurs when criminals seek out your personal information so they can pretend to be you. They might then try to access your bank accounts, or take out credit cards, personal loans or other products in your name.

Identity theft can occur online or offline or a combination of both. Criminals increasingly use social networking sites to uncover your personal information and financial details. Even some of the less obvious platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn can be used for this purpose.

It’s crucial to keep your personal information secure. Details that are commonly sought after include driver’s licences, passports, Medicare card information, and bank account details. 

How to avoid identity fraud

  • Always keep your personal information safe
  • Protect your passwords and change them regularly to make it harder for someone to discover them
  • Turn on Two Factor Authentication (2FA) on all services, particularly your email and social media
  • Keep statements, receipts, tax returns and other documents showing your personal financial information safe. If you throw them away, shred them first
  • Don’t give out your date of birth on social media sites, and keep profiles on a private setting
  • If you’ve moved house, be sure to update your details immediately, so your mail is sent to the correct address
  • Make sure CommBank and your other financial service providers always have up-to-date contact information, so they can reach you if they notice any suspicious activity
  • Put a lock on your mailbox
  • Check your bank statements regularly
  • Install anti-virus software on your computer and scan it regularly
  • Never give personal information to a person or organisation unless you know them, trust them and know why they need it
  • Don’t apply for any financial/banking products on someone else’s device (phone/laptop etc)

How to avoid social networking fraud

  • Be selective about who you connect with. Where possible, restrict posts exclusively to certain groups, such as your family or close friends
  • Assume that anything you post on social networks is not completely private
  • Be careful about allowing “geo-tagging” – where social networking sites add geographical information to your posts as metadata. Consider whether the service really needs to know where you are to be useful

Top tip

Order copies of your credit report regularly to check for entries you don’t recognise. There are three credit reporting bodies (Illion, Experian and Equifax), so when checking your credit report, it’s important to approach all three. To find out how, visit moneysmart.gov.au and follow the links under ‘Borrowing & credit’.

Things you should know

As this advice has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on the advice, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. The information provided on this page has been compiled by CommBank to educate you on ways to minimise the likelihood of being victim to fraud or experience unauthorised transactions on your accounts, and where to seek help if you believe either of these have occurred.