Keeping your identity yours

Press Release – Department Of Internal Affairs

Fraud Awareness Week in New Zealand is part of a trans-Tasman initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT), established in March 2005. The Department of Internal Affairs registers births, deaths and marriages, issues passports and …22 March 2012

Keeping your identity yours

Fraud Awareness Week in New Zealand is part of a trans-Tasman initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT), established in March 2005.

The Department of Internal Affairs registers births, deaths and marriages, issues passports and grants citizenship. The department is the source of authoritative identity information for New Zealand citizens. The Department is also part of a group of government agencies working to on the problem of identity crime in New Zealand.

The following stories may be used in any articles you are publishing about identity crime and how people should manage their identity information.

More information about protecting your identity information is available at www.identity.govt.nz

Could you become a victim of identity crime?

Do you know how easy it could be to steal your identity? Simple personal information, such as your name, address and date of birth, is exactly what identity thieves are looking for. Dealing with the effects of identity crime is often a long and arduous process.

In the past, we 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.

While the thought of someone committing crime, racking up fines or taking out loans in your name is unpleasant, it can also be difficult to resolve, especially if thieves sell your information to others.

You may think that identity theft is a problem on the Internet, but it happens in the real world too. There are some simple things you can do to protect your identity:

Be careful about what you do with bank and credit card statements; don’t put them in the recycling.

Be aware of your personal information, if you don’t feel comfortable giving it out, ask why it’s needed and what will be done with it.

And, finally, if something unusual happens, like a strange credit card arriving in the mail, go to the police.

More information about protecting your identity information is available at www.identity.govt.nz

What does your wallet say about you?

Most of us carry a number of cards with us every day, such as a driver licence, credit card, eftpos card and all those loyalty cards. But, have you ever looked at your licence and thought about how much someone would know about you from it?

A driver licence has your full name, signature, date of birth and a picture of you on it. Other cards may have your address or clues to where you live (like a library card), where you bank and where you shop. This probably isn’t what you think of as your identity, but this information allows you to interact with businesses, financial institutions and the government.

Identity information often doesn’t change significantly over time: your date of birth, mother’s maiden name and other key details stay the same. This is why it’s important to look after this information. Identity thieves use it in a variety of ways, and they can continue to target you for a long time.

It’s worth considering how much you need to carry with you. Protect this information at home as well, by keeping it somewhere safe and out of sight. Don’t throw out statements or bills with details about yourself on them. Instead, shred or burn them.

If you lose your wallet or bag, cancel cards straight away. You may like to let the main credit reporting companies know as well, so that they can put a note on your file to stop a lost licence being used to take out a loan.

Remember that your identity is precious and worth looking after. You can find out more at www.identity.govt.nz

What is identity crime?

If the thought of someone masquerading as you to take out loans or avoid the police seems scary, it probably should. Identity theft and associated crimes are increasing around the world, and New Zealand is no exception.

Unlike in other countries, Kiwis are not very aware of the problem, either as individuals or as organisations. This makes it easier for the thieves to operate.

Identity theft may be perpetrated for a number of crimes, such as obtaining credit, travel, mortgage fraud, false proof of age, IRD number theft and tax avoidance and status reasons.

It varies from false Facebook pages, which can seriously damage people’s reputations, to organised crime syndicates and terrorists using false identities to perpetrate serious crimes.

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, people can continue to have problems long after the initial theft.

There are some steps you can take to keep your identity safe. Don’t give out personal information unnecessarily, don’t write down PIN numbers, or give them to people, don’t throw out bills or statements (shred or burn them) and be wary if you receive unusual mail.

For more information, or help if you may have been a victim of identity theft, visit www.identity.govt.nz.

ENDS

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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