Fraud, Scams & Online safety
October 3, 2023
Crime Prevention
How to tell if your identity has been stolen and what to do about it

How to tell if your identity has been stolen and what to do about it

If you discover your identity has been stolen, it’s important to let your bank and other key authorities know as soon as possible.

Having your identity stolen can be emotionally and financially devastating and take years to resolve. Here’s how to recognise if your identity has been stolen and the key actions you should take. 

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal, identifiable or sensitive information and uses it to defraud or harm you, such as falsely obtaining money, credit, loans or goods, setting up accounts or signing contracts in your name, stealing your superannuation, impersonating you on social media, committing crimes or harming your reputation.

What is personal identifiable information?

Personal identifiable information is anything that helps to identify who you are or how to find you. It may include:

  • Your full name
  • Birthdate
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Bank account details
  • Debit and credit card details
  • Driver’s licence number
  • Passport details
  • Tax File Number
  • Usernames and passwords
  • Location check-ins and event RSVPs
  • Email addresses

Signs of identity theft?

If your identity has been stolen, it might be a while before you realise it. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Mail you’re expecting never arrives.
  • You’ve lost important documents such as your passport or driver’s licence.
  • Unusual charges, purchases or transactions appear on your bank or credit card statements.
  • You’ve applied for a government benefit but are told you already receive it.
  • You receive bills, invoices or receipts addressed to you for things you’ve bought or services you haven’t used.
  • You’re denied a loan or credit card, despite having a good credit history.
  • You’ve received letters from solicitors or debt collectors, for debts that aren’t yours.
  • A mobile phone contract has been taken out in your name, without you knowing.

What to do if you think your identity has been stolen

  • Notify your bank, credit provider and super fund.
  • Log out of all your online accounts and change the passwords.
  • Notify the Australian Taxation Office and/or Centrelink.
  • Contact VicRoads if you have a driver’s licence.
  • If you have a passport, alert the Australian Passport Office.
  • Let your family, friends and employer know.
  • Report it to Report Cyber at the Australian Cyber Security Centre.
  • Call IDCARE on 1800 595 160 or complete their online form to get specialised advice and support to help limit any damage.
  • Apply for a Commonwealth Victims Certificate, which can help you to re-establish your credentials with government agencies, businesses and banks and have them remove fraudulent transactions from their records.

What to do if you've been affected by a data breach

If you've been affected by a data breach, it's important to:

  • Report the breach to your bank and super fund, as well as VicRoads and the Australia Passport office, if appropriate. 
  • Change your passwords.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious emails, phone calls, texts or social media messages 
  • Monitor your bank account for any purchases or transactions you didn’t make
  • Request copies of your credit reports from all 3 credit reporting bodies (Equifax, Experian and illion) to see if they include any unauthorised loans or applications.
  • request a temporary ban on your credit report

Get Police Assistance

For all emergencies and immediate Police assistance
Call: 000
To report non-urgent crimes or events 24 hours a day
Call: 131 444
To report information about a crime contact Crime Stoppers on
1800 333 000

Suggested reading just for you

Discover more Fraud, Scams & Online safety articles.

How to protect yourself from scams

The best way to protect yourself from being scammed is to stop, think and check before you react to suspicious texts, emails or phone calls
Read More

7 ways to spot an email scam

The best defence against scam emails is knowing what to look for – things like generic greetings, poor spelling, clunky language, an unofficial sender email address and incorrect branding.
Read More

How to spot an investment scam

Before you hand over your life savings to a new investment opportunity, carry out some basic checks to see whether the offer and the person or company behind it is real or a scam.
Read More

Keep up to date with our tips, news and events

Subscribe to our newsletter
Connect With Us

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.

At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.