Lost something? Don't be a victim of identity fraud

About this post

RateCity looks into identity theft and how you can protect your identity while using your credit card.

July 28, 2010

At some stage or another, all of us have had our wallet, credit card or our identity stolen or we know of someone that has. It is a frightening and vulnerable position to be in and the consequences can be permanent.  

According to research from information and analytics provider Veda Advantage, 80 percent of Australians are concerned about identity theft and only 30 percent have implemented ways to protect themselves from being a victim of identity fraud.

What is even more staggering is that more than half (55 percent) of the 1015 Australians surveyed had lost their wallet, credit card, debit card or driver's licence in the past three years, with almost a quarter (24 percent) having lost their personal information more than twice.

Queensland Police Service stated that identity crime is the fastest growing type of crime in the world and costs Australians between $1.6 billion and $3 billion each year. One of the major forms of identity theft is through credit cards, with scam artists and thieves gaining access to your personal and private information and then using this against you to:

  • Use your details to apply for credit cards or loans under your name.
  • Access your credit card account details online as well as your other banking details.
  • Purchase goods and services worldwide with your credit card.
  • Conduct credit card and debit card skimming.

The ramifications of being a victim to this type of theft not only can leave you feeling exposed, but it can have an impact on your credit history and can leave you in serious debt.

What has been done for you
Identity theft has had a significant impact on the credit card industry and as a result financial institutions have invested in implementing ways to reduce this type of theft, through some of the following:

  • Higher levels of security of online systems and  personal details.
  • Some financial institutions have set up specialist teams to monitor unusual and suspicious transactions and will call you if they come across a transaction that stands out.
  • Using mobile phone SMS messaging to authenticate online transactions.

How you can protect your financial identity
Even though most financial institutions have implemented measures to protect you and eliminate fraud, there are a few changes that you can make to further reduce your chances:

  • Regularly check your credit card statements for bogus transactions and notify your institution straight away if you come across one.
  • Contact your financial institution immediately if your credit card is stolen so they can cancel any further transactions.
  • Regularly change your Personal Identification Number (PIN).
  • Never keep your PIN on you, especially in your wallet.
  • Never give your credit card information to anyone suspicious either online or via the telephone.
  • To find out different credit cards' security, compare credit cards online for one that suits you best.

Just remember that these types of people are everywhere so never let your guard down and always be aware of who's watching you at the checkout.

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