Identity thefts had cost Australia more than $2 billion in 2017. The dark web has Australian identity credentials up on sale for thousands of dollars and each year many innocent victims fall prey.
Harjeet Singh Kainth is an Indian student in Melbourne. He had arrived two months ago but failed to find a job. He then received a Facebook message from someone who offered him a job. The person told him that he would need a new phone that was compatible with the software needed for the job. The person even offered to pay for the phone.
Harjeet met this man in September 2018 and together they bought a phone which was in Harjeet’s name. The man said that he needed to load software on the phone and took it with him.
That was the last time that Harjeet heard from him. He even stopped responding to Harjeet’s messages and phone calls. He then gave up, thinking that since he had not paid for the phone he had lost nothing.
However, when Harjeet applied for a credit card recently his application was refused. There was a default of $2,439 on his credit record which he disputed with the telecommunication company.
Another Indian student had also been in the same circumstances. Both the students think that it the same man that stole their identities, as quoted by SBS News.
Identity thieves use stolen information like name, address, date of birth, etc to open bank accounts. They also use stolen identities to get credit cards, start unlawful businesses or even get a passport. They can also use stolen identities to commit serious offenses like money laundering or terrorist activities.
Identity thieves use several ways to steal information. They may hack your computer, steal your wallet or even break into your house. Some even rummage through your garbage bins to retrieve bank statements and bills.
If you suspect that your identity may have been stolen, it is best to immediately report it to the Police. Get a copy of the report as you might need to show it to your bank. Inform your bank and set up new accounts and passwords as soon as possible. Also, report the same to your credit card provider and tell them to not authorize any future payments.
You should also change your bank, social media and email passwords immediately.
Here are some tips to avoid identity theft:
- Never give your personal details to strangers
- Always check your bank statements
- Regularly check your credit card report
- Put a lock over your mailbox to prevent your mails from getting stolen
- Never click on suspicious links that have been sent over SMS, email or social media
- Make sure your passwords are strong. Try and use a combination of alphabets, numerals and special characters
- Do not use the same password for different platforms
- Never use public computers for banking transactions or for making payments
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