Self-protection! Our tips on avoiding identity theft this Christmas!

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We expect your credit card will get a thrashing over the next few months with Christmas shopping and holidaying…this is prime time for fraudsters both here and abroad to tap into your activity and use your details to steal your heard earned money!

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics Fraud Survey in 2010-2011 Australian’s lost $1.4 billion due to personal fraud. More alarmingly, the survey estimated a total of 1.2 million Australians aged 15 years and over were victim of at least one incident of identity fraud in the 12 months prior to the survey interview. This is an increase from 806,000 victims of personal fraud in 2007 (5 per cent).

Here are a few tips to keep your identity safe this holiday season….

  1. Watch for shoulder-surfers : Make sure no one is looking over your shoulder when entering pin numbers at an ATM, computer at work or public space! In fact public computers are best avoiding for any online transactions especially banking!
  2.  Shred everything: Dumpster-diving can dig up some identity gold for would be criminals. Don’t put your paper work in the bin without shredding it first!
  3. Destroy digital data: If you sell, trade or re-assign a computer make sure your passwords etc are not saved.
  4. Don’t give out your details: Don’t share your personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you initiated the contact
  5. Password perfection: Ensure you create strong passwords. The best ones use more than eight characters, contain both capitals and at least one numeric or other non alphabetical character

If you’d like to know more about protecting your identity, visit Australian Federal Police which houses some helpful and interesting information