Ask Paul: How will I know if a scammer is using my identity?
Now that Optus and Medibank have given criminals our date of birth, names, addresses, driver's licence numbers, passport numbers and phone numbers, how do we sign up for a credit history check or notification for when the criminals try to use our ID?
I know we can get a free yearly credit history, but how can we subscribe to notification of credit checks when banks, etc, look into our names? - Karen
What a fiasco this has been, Karen. Despite these companies bleating about how terrible the scammers are, we seem to be hearing little about how hopeless these companies are at protecting our data. They hold too much information about us and they keep it for far too long.
I wrote about Telstra very helpfully giving a replacement password for my account to a crook, with absolutely no ID or security checks.
My colleague and InvestSMART CEO, Ron Hodge, is very tech savvy, and as I said in that article, Ron had good advice, which I thought was very useful: "Place a ban on your credit report with all credit agencies so hackers cannot apply for new credit cards in your name."
Equifax was the best credit agency as it reported the alert to other credit agencies. Ron also recommended signing up to Equifax's ID Basic plan of $4.95 per month, which sends an alert if anyone attempts to use your details to apply for any sort of credit in Australia and elsewhere.
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