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Identity Fraud

Identity fraud can occur in many ways, from somebody using your credit card details illegally, to having your entire identity assumed by another person to open bank accounts, take out loans and conduct illegal business under your name.

How to protect yourself from identity theft

  • Never send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
  • If you receive a call from The Mutual or any other organisation, don’t provide your personal details - instead ask for their name and a contact number. Check with the organisation in question before calling back.
  • Never rely on a number provided in an email or click on the provided link - instead find the contact number through an internet search or check the back of your Visa Debit Card.
  • Regularly check your statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected.
  • Shred all documents containing personal information, such as applications and statements.
  • Log directly onto websites you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
  • Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer or request is genuine.
  • Lock your letterbox securely to avoid your mail being stolen.
  • Ensure you choose passwords that are not easy for someone to guess, such as your date of birth, pet’s name etc.

Signs of identity fraud

These can vary, but some typical signs that your identity is being used unlawfully are:

  • A financial institution informs you they have received an application for credit that you have not applied for. You receive phone calls or letters advising that you have been denied credit that you have not applied for.
  • You receive bank, mobile phone or credit card statements or notices in your name, of which you have no knowledge.
  • You notice that you no longer receive your bank or credit card statement or that not all your mail is being delivered.

What can you do?

If you believe that you have had personal papers stolen, or have become a victim of identity theft, notify The Mutual as soon as possible. You should also advise any other financial institution that you bank with so they are aware of the situation.

Any instance of identity fraud should also be immediately reported to your local police.
It is also a good idea to advise close family and friends as identity theft rings will often target more than one member of a household.

Hoax emails

Financial institutions in Australia have been subject to various email scams that are designed to compromise the personal information of individuals in order to illegally obtain and transfer funds overseas.

There are generally two types of emails aimed at obtaining your personal information:

1. Phishing (pronounced fishing) emails

Phishing emails are designed to trick you into disclosing personal information such as account details, passwords or card numbers. Be suspicious of unexpected emails from a bank, credit union or building society asking you to supply information.

If you have accidentally given out personal information regarding your account details, please change your Access Code in Internet Banking immediately. If you are unsure how to do this or have any other queries, please contact our helpful staff and they will assist you.

Remember, The Mutual will never ask you to confirm your identity or supply your passwords via email.

If you receive an email claiming to be from The Mutual asking for account or personal information or directing you to log in to an external site, please contact our staff immediately.

2. Virus or trojan emails

These emails come from senders who are usually unknown to the receiver. They contain links or attachments that may download and install malicious software (malware) onto your computer.

If you click on a link in these emails, or open an attachment, the malware will try to install itself automatically on your computer, though this could be blocked if you have the appropriate software security updates installed on your computer. Some malware is even programmed to uninstall your anti-virus software prior to attempting to infect your machine.

If you have already actioned an email by clicking on the link, or you notice that your computer has become slower and you have other icons on your computer that you don't remember downloading, these are signs that your computer may have been infected by a virus or other malware.

In this case, have your computer professionally inspected and cleaned by a trained computer technician to remove any malware that may have been downloaded, and as a continued preventative measure, have them install the latest anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

Scams

There are numerous scams that attempt to trick you into providing your personal information or giving up some of your hard earned money. The simple rule to remember is, if the offer seems too good to be true then it probably is.

For more information on scams go to www.scamwatch.gov.au

Questions?

If you have any questions, please contact us