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IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity & cyber support service. Their service is the only one of its type in the world. They have helped thousands of Australian and New Zealand individuals and organisations reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation.

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IDCARE has a huge library of fact sheets, videos, guides for social media, technology and more. Check out their resources now to help you prevent the theft of your identity

Understanding Identity Theft: Fact Sheet

Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves the theft of someone’s personal information. Often it’s the credentials that contain personal information that is of most value to criminals. This Fact Sheet provides information about what you can do to prevent the theft of your physical identity documents and steps you can take if it ever happens to you.

Quick Facts

  • There is a very high likelihood that if your credentials are stolen you will experience identity theft.
  • Targeted credentials include Passports, Driver Licences, Credit Cards, Bank Statements, Tax Statements and Medicare Cards.
  • The most common ways credentials are stolen is because of unsecure letterboxes and house burglaries where the credentials are easily accessible.
  • The risk to someone who has had their credentials stolen is usually a “credit risk” – a criminal getting credit in your name.
  • Average time theft and misuse is five days.
  • Shared living located along key transport corridors are more targeted than other residential types.


  • Be aware of what credentials are attractive to identity thieves and where you keep them.
  • Ensure you have proper physical security in your home and with your letterbox.
  • If you are going away, arrange for someone to collect your mail and keep an eye out.
  • If you live in an apartment or dual living, talk to other residents or the body corporate about assessing the security of your mail and residence.
  • Arrange for alternative ways to receive your credentials and statements than by mail (eg. collecting in person or receiving statements by email).
  • Lock your credentials away in a place that’s not obvious.

Detection & Response 

  • Make a mental note of when you are likely to receive credentials and statements and don’t delay chasing them up if they don’t arrive.
  • Check your credit report once a year – it’s free to do so and go to to find out how (most people have three types!).
  • If you suspect credentials and statements are stolen, let the issuing organisation know, notify your bank and ask for more security, and place a ban on your credit file (it’s free to do this and it will prevent most criminals from getting credit in your name). Contact IDCARE by submitting a Support Request Form or call 1300 432 273 

Common signs of identity compromise and misuse

  • Lost or stolen identity credentials (e.g. passport, driving licence).
  • Mail stops arriving at your address.
  • Items appear on bank/credit card statements you don’t recognise.
  • Bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for goods/services you haven’t asked for.

Responding to identity theft: 

  • Every case is different, but here’s some general tips on what to do:
  • Contact IDCARE to assess your risks and build a tailored response plan.
  • Update and run anti-virus software on all Internet-enabled devices.
  • Reset all passwords and PINs.
  • Review where you keep your personal information on your devices, such as emails and hard drive and remove unnecessary items.
  • Review your existing accounts. Look for unauthorised transactions, changes to settings (for example email particulars), and, if possible, the times and locations your account has been accessed.
  • Check your credit report to see if someone is accessing credit in your name.
  • Contact your financial institution and let them know what’s happened and ask how they can assist.

Mitigating the risk of identity theft online

  • ‍DO NOT open suspicious texts or emails – delete them.
  • Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust - and never by email.
  • Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess, and update them regularly.
  • Secure your networks and devices with antivirus software and a good firewall.
  • Be cautious about using social media and limit the amount of personal information you publish online.
  • Be cautious about requests for your personal information over the internet.

Mitigating the risk of identity theft offline

  • ‍Secure your personal documents at home and when travelling.
  • Put a lock on your mailbox and destroy any documents containing personal information not required.
  • Be cautious about requests for your personal information over the phone and in person.
  • Order a free copy of your credit report from a credit reporting agency annually.
  • Regularly check your bank & superannuation statements.
  • Be curious about where you information goes that is collected by organisations – you have a right to know why they are collecting it, how they will secure it, for how long they will keep it, whether they will share it.  

Enquire Call 02 9859 0585