Don't give too much away09 October 2012Find out how to keep your information safe so you don't become a victim of identity theft.
Have you ever thought about how much information about yourself you freely give away and what could be done with it?
Dig into someone's wallet, look at their Facebook profile, or go through their rubbish and you will find a wealth of valuable information. Simple personal information, like your name, address, date of birth or bank account number is all that is needed for someone to pretend to be you and do harm.
Identities may be stolen to commit many different crimes, such as obtaining credit, false proof of age, IRD number theft and tax avoidance or to evade police. It varies from false Facebook pages, which can seriously damage people’s reputations, to organised crime syndicates using false identities to perpetrate serious crimes. In the past, New Zealanders have not had to worry so much about identity crime, but it is a growing problem around the world and is likely to affect more of us in the future.
The most unfortunate fact about identity theft is that the victim not only suffers, but also ends up being the one who has to clean up the mess. As many details about you don’t change much over time, victims can continue to have problems long after the initial theft.
You may think that identity theft is a problem on the Internet, but it happens in the real world too. There are some steps you can take to keep your identity safe.
For more information, or help if you may have been a victim of identity theft, visit
- don’t give out personal information unnecessarily
- don't be afraid to ask why the information is needed and how it will be used
- don’t write down PIN numbers, or give them to people,
- don’t throw out bills or statements (shred or burn them)
- be wary if you receive unusual mail.