Battling identity crime at ShredFest

People are being urged to protect themselves from identity theft ahead of the end of the financial year.

 

Victoria's Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz joined locals for the free, large-scale paper-shredding event in Footscray in Melbourne, which provides an opportunity for people to safely dispose of documents containing personal information.

 

Ms Kairouz said, “Scammers can very easily gain access to your private information through unlocked mailboxes or discarded personal documents, so make sure you’re protecting yourself.”

 

“It’s always easier to carefully dispose of documents containing sensitive or confidential information than it is to resolve the implications that come from having your identity misused.”

 

A shredding truck was on site at Footscray Library, destroying papers containing confidential information to prevent sensitive information failing into the wrong hands.

 

ShredFest is a timely reminder to review online and offline practices. Identity crime cost Australians over $1.5 million in 2018, and the figure for 2019 has already surpassed that, with over $1.7 million lost across more than 4,700 reports to date.

 

Scammers often intercept mail or confidential documents – such as account details, utility bills, insurance records or health care records – and use them to steal money or commit other crimes.

 

To protect yourself from identity theft:

  • Put a lock on your mailbox and destroy any documents containing personal information not required
  • Be cautious about requests for your personal information over the phone and in person
  • Regularly check your bank and superannuation statements

 

If you suspect your personal information has been stolen, act quickly to report it to police and notify the relevant organisation, such as your bank, if you think your credit card is being misused.

 

For advice from IDCARE, the national identity theft support service, visit https://www.idcare.org/.

 

23 June 2019.