Your personal information can be very valuable, but it can be misused if it falls into the wrong hands. There can be serious consequences if you don't keep your personal information secure, such as unauthorised access to your accounts and even identity theft.There are many ways in which people can obtain your personal information for criminal purposes, such as 'phishing' emails, scam phone calls, breaking into your home and stealing your personal documents or stealing your private mail from your mail box.
Keep your personal information under lock and key
It is a good idea to keep valuable documents such as your insurance policies, birth certificate, marriage certificate, will, drivers licence, passport, credit card and bank information under lock and key in your home (e.g. in a safe). It is also sensible to keep all PIN's, passwords, access codes and other "keys" to your personal information secure to ensure that unauthorised people cannot get hold of them.
Consider giving a copy of your important documents to a trusted family member, friend or lawyer especially if you are going overseas.
It is also important to keep your post box locked to keep your mail confidential. If you are going to be away from home for an extended period, it is a good idea to request that the post office redirect your mail. Always be alert for missing mail, such as bills, or 'extra' mail that you did not request – such as new credit cards etc.
Destroy documents when you no longer need them
It is a good idea to shred documents that you no longer need which contain your personal information such as documents containing your name, address, bank account details, insurance details, or health information.This includes such things as old credit cards, other bank cards, drivers licenses and passports.
Staying safe online
Remember that you can choose which websites you visit and what information you disclose online. You should search for the website itself and not click on links from emails that may not be genuine. This includes search engines that may present links to websites that are not genuine.
Be careful when information you put on your social media networks and make sure you are aware with whom you share your information with online, and always keep online passwords secret and secure. For more information on staying safe online, click here.
Use strong passwords and remember to keep them secret
A good password should be a mix of numbers, letters (upper case and lower case) and characters. It is a good idea to use different passwords for logging into different sites and to change your passwords regularly. Do not carry your passwords around with you in your wallet or bag. For more information on passwords, click here
Be aware of fakes
Be cautious about requests for your personal information over the internet, phone and/or in person in case it is a scam. Be aware that people may call you pretending to be from the bank or your insurer in order to obtain your personal details. There are also fake email scams, known as ‘phishing’ which ask you to verify personal details or passwords via an email that looks like it comes from your bank, financial institution or telecommunications provider. These email phishing scams are all about tricking an individual into handing over personal and banking details to scammers. An example of these phishing scams may be including special links in an email to take you to a combination of genuine and fake websites.
If you receive such an email you should report it to SCAMwatch and to the Police. If you think your identity has been misused; you should contact your bank, insurer or credit union to let them know.
Know your rights
Consider adding your phone numbers to the Do Not Call Register
You can list your contact number on the Do Not Call Register. Telemarketers and fax marketers must not contact you once your number is listed on the register. Some groups can still contact you after you register. These include charities, research companies, political parties and educational institutions. For more information, click here.
Consider obtaining the ‘Do Not Knock’ sticker
You can also display a Do Not Knock sticker on your premises. A salesperson who ignores your Do Not Knock sticker may be considered to have refused your request to leave the premises under the Australian Consumer Law. In this case, a salesman failing to comply with such a request to leave the premises could lead to civil and criminal penalties of $50,000 for a body corporate and $10,000 for an individual, or committing trespass.For more information, click here.
You can report scamming here
Kids and internet safety
It is also important to educate kids to the dangers of giving away too much of their private information on the internet. It is also important to help kids understand that the people they are talking to online may not be who they seem.
You can stay updated on new scams to watch out for, developments in privacy law and helpful tips to protect your privacy through these websites:
Limitation of Liability and Disclaimer
The information contained in this document is provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be relied upon for any other reason without first independently obtaining relevant professional advice. Nothing in this document should be construed as professional/or legal advice. Affinia does not make any warranties or guarantees that following the tips outlined in this document will ensure that your information is protected. Affinia is not liable for any direct or indirect damage and/or loss arising out of or in connection with the use of and/or reliance on any of the information provided in this document.
Affinia is also not responsible for any of the information contained on third party websites. Affinia does not undertake any obligation to update any of the information contained on these third party websites. Affinia does not make any representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of any of the information or content contained on these third party pages. Affinia is not liable for any direct or indirect damage and/or loss arising out of or in connection with the use and/or reliance on the information contained on these third party websites.