There is no doubt that identity fraud and theft is on the increase with over four million Australians affected each year. If you want to repair your credit rating, but can’t figure out why your credit score is so low, it is a good idea to check you have not been a victim of identity fraud.
From a credit rating perspective, the result of identity theft is usually disastrous as it often leads to credit defaults for the innocent party. Once a default is listed, it’s up the victim to prove their innocence. This can take significant time and resources, and all the while the victim may be unable to secure credit themselves.
This trend is concerning as recent reports shows that more than a quarter of the Australian population has been affected by identity fraud, either personally, or within their friend and family networks. The cost of identity theft to Australians is reported to be 3.5 billion each year and growing.
Identity theft occurs for a number of reasons including the fraudulent securing of credit, money laundering, drug trafficking, illegal immigration and even terrorism. Yet despite the very serious nature of this crime the majority of Australians haven’t taken any steps to protect themselves.
Of all the Australians who were personally affected by identity fraud, 51% of these victims had not done anything to protect themselves from future identity theft
Protecting your identity can be as simple as placing an alert system on your credit file, or calling a hotline which will cancel your credit cards for you. The general public would be well advised to become familiar with these steps and how to initiate them.
Veda Advantage (now Equifax), Australia’s largest credit reporting agency has a number of protection measures in place for the general public to help safeguard against credit identity theft.
Veda Advantage’s unique My Veda Alert service notifies a consumer every time a credit provider accesses their credit file. Consumers receive an electronic report advising them of who has obtained a copy of their credit report, any changes to address information, or if new applications for credit have been made under their name.
This allows consumers to monitor any irregular activity, which may indicate an identity has been stolen and is being used to fraudulently obtain credit. It will help consumers to take a proactive stance against identity fraud to prevent financial loss and adverse changes to their credit profile.
Secure Sentinel, a Veda Advantage company, also helps protect, retrieve and replace registered cards if they are lost or stolen. Secure Sentinel provides loss assistance, credit card cancellation and retrieval services in one package, with a dedicated 24-hour hotline that consumers can call from anywhere in the world to cancel credit cards. Its focus is on preventing identity theft rather than a recovery process.
Australians should pay close attention to their online behaviour to avoid any potential exposure to identity fraud. Global incidences of credit identity theft and online fraud more than doubled last year, which demonstrates the importance of protecting your identity both on and offline. In more difficult economic times, criminals look for more inventive ways of obtaining information to assume someone’s identity, and the borderless characteristics of the internet are fast becoming a hot spot for a wave of new attacks.
Recent studies indicate 63% of Australians said they believed their personal risk to identity theft and related crimes would increase as a result of the GFC. When you consider the shifts in business and economic transactions that are moving to new digital and online formats, protection of personal and financial details has never been more important.
Clean Credit removes defaults, court judgments, and black marks from your credit file. We help to repair credit so that you can regain financial flexibility. Improve your credit score and get the loans you need when you need them.
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