Millions of Aussies hit by Latitude data breach


14 million accounts hit by Latitude hack, disinflation arrives at last, and workers to see how their boss is tackling the gender pay gap. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Latitude data breach affects 14 million accounts

Latitude Financial is continuing to mop up after a data hack that could affect 14 million accounts including:

latitude financial data breach harvey norman customers

  • 8 million stolen drivers licence numbers
  • 53,000 passport numbers stolen
  • Over 6 million records hacked dating back to at least 2005, which include personal details such as names and addresses.

You may not know Latitude, but Latitude could know you as it is the provider of store cards for several leading retailers including Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, and most recently David Jones, which only switched to Latitude in January after splitting from American Express.

Latitude Financial CEO Ahmed Fahour, says, "We are committed to working closely with impacted customers and applicants to minimise the risk and disruption to them, including reimbursing the cost if they choose to replace their ID document."

Fahour is urging Latitude customers to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour relating to their accounts.

Concerned customers can call Latitude's dedicated contact centre on 1300 793 416 9am to 6pm (AEDT) Monday to Friday (excludes public holidays).

At last! Disinflation has arrived

The monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) used to measure inflation, has dipped to 6.8% for February 2023, down from 7.4% in January according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Michelle Marquardt, ABS head of prices statistics, says, "This marks the second consecutive month of lower annual inflation, also known as 'disinflation', from the peak of 8.4% in December 2022."

The biggest cost jumps in February were housing (up 9.9%, thanks largely to increasing rents), and food and non-alcoholic beverages (up 8.0%).

The downward trend in inflation could see the Reserve Bank pause on rate hikes when it meets on Tuesday.

Australian-first reforms give workers access to employer gender pay gaps

More than 4.5 million Australian employees will be able to access their employer's gender pay gaps starting in early 2024.

It follows the passage of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023 in Federal Parliament on Thursday.

In an Australian first, the package of reforms requires the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) to publish employer gender pay gaps for private sector and Commonwealth public sector employers.

WGEA CEO Mary Wooldridge believes the reforms will give employees greater insights into their workplaces' gender equality policies and priorities.

Wooldridge says, "Publishing employer gender pay gaps will provide deeper insights on their employer's progress, while job-seekers can get a clearer indication of a prospective employer's commitment to ensuring the contributions of all employees are equally valued and rewarded.

"This is also an opportunity for employers who may have been slow to prioritise gender equality to get serious about change."

Australia's national gender pay gap currently stands at 13.3% meaning that women earn, on average, 87 cents for every $1 earned by a man.

Bigger deposits needed to get sharpest home loan rates

This week saw ANZ increase the rate on its basic mortgage by up to 0.21% for new customers.

RateCity reports that the bank has also lifted the deposit size needed to qualify for its lowest variable rate.

Home buyers looking to take out ANZ's Simplicity Plus home loan will need a 40% deposit to land the  lowest rate of 5.44%, up from 30% deposit previously.

Borrowers with less than 10% deposit are looking at a rate of 6.69%.

The move comes on the back of similar changes by CommBank last week. New customers now need a 40% deposit to qualify for the bank's lowest standard variable rate of 5.32%.

If you can stump up a 40% deposit, The Mutual Bank has a Budget Home Loan with a rate of 4.69% for owner occupiers.

A lottery win could cost you

Recent US research confirms that, yes, money does buy happiness.

But coming into a decent sum of cash via a lottery win may not bring domestic bliss.

A study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research found a lottery win can increase the odds of getting divorced - depending on who holds the winning ticket.

The research shows that if a man wins a lottery he is more likely to stay married.

However, when a woman wins a lottery it doubles the likelihood that she'll push for divorce.

There is a twist to all this.

The study was based on a sample of lottery players in Sweden - a country where divorce settlements often favour the richer spouse.

Here in Australia the typical property settlement is 60/40 according to Mediations Australia.

It's not a problem most of us have to worry about. The odds of winning one of the big lotteries ranging from around 1 in 8 million to 1 in 76 million.

Even so, it may be wise to scratch 'lottery ticket' from the list of gifts you were thinking of for your wife.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.