What is identity crime?
Identity crime occurs when someone uses a false or stolen identity to commit an offence, such as:
- manipulating staff and student records
- inappropriately accessing your or the department's records
- making purchases online
- opening financial accounts and taking out loans
- applying for government benefits
- selling your house
- committing traffic offences recorded on your drivers licence
- avoiding court appearances.
How does identity theft happen?
People can steal another's identity in a number of ways: physical and virtual.
While most of us are well aware of the importance of protecting our bags, wallets and mobile phones, in today's digital environment, it's equally important that we protect our usernames and passwords.
Criminals can start using your identity with only your name, date of birth and address.
They can also trick you into providing your personal details.
Cyber criminals might send you an email that appears as though it's been sent by your financial institution.
Occasionally departmental staff receive hoax emails, usually asking for email account details which are then used by people outside the department to send spam emails.
These type of emails are known as phishing scams. They aim to trick you into handing over your personal details.
Phony fraud alerts are similar. They typically involve fraudulent emails pretending to be from your financial institution informing you that your account has been cancelled due to suspicious transactions. They will then trick you into providing account details to 'confirm' your identity.