The first thing to do is to report the problem. If you believe that someone may have used your identity details to fraudulently obtain credit you should take the following steps and act immediately:
- Request a copy of your credit report to check that the information relates to applications for credit that you have in fact made.
- Contact any credit providers listed on your credit file to whom you have not applied for credit so that they can investigate and take appropriate and prompt action
- Contact Equifax (and other credit reporting bodies) to put a ban on your consumer credit information. The initial ban period is for 21 days and can be extended. This can help prevent fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. The ban period means that if a credit provider requests your credit report as part of an assessment of a credit application Equifax cannot share it unless you have provided written consent or if it is required by law. You can find out how to put a ban on your credit report here.
- Contact the police and report the crime
When dealing with a possible identity theft it is important to keep records of the conversations you have and keep notes, including:
- name/s of the individual
- contact number
- the date you spoke to an organisation
- details of the conversation.
You should also ask questions to the people you speak to so you can understand the process. Each credit provider may have their own processes for handling fraud. Note these requirements so you can comply.
Your records are investigated. The credit provider(s) will then conduct their own investigations and notify us of the outcome. We can then remove any fraudulent information from your credit record.
You can also put a ban on your Equifax consumer credit report. The initial ban period is for 21 days and can be extended. This can help prevent fraudulent accounts being opened in your name. The ban period means that if a credit provider requests your credit report as part of an assessment of a credit application Equifax cannot share it unless you have provided written consent or if it is required by law.
To help reduce the chances of credit fraud happening to you, follow these simple steps:
- know what is on your credit file - Order your Equifax credit report
- Use My Credit Alert to monitor your Equifax credit report so that you receive e-mail notification every time a credit application is made using your personal details
- sign all your new credit cards as soon as you receive them
- store your cards and personal ID items in a secure place
- shred any paperwork that contains your personal details or account details before throwing it away
- contact your financial institution immediately if your cards are lost or stolen
- keep your PIN confidential and separate from your card
If you have reasonable grounds to believe you have been or are likely to be victim of fraud, you can request a ban on the disclosure of your credit information to be put in place.
When Equifax receives and actions such a request, the ban extends not only to personal credit information but also to any commercial credit or publicly available information Equifax holds.
Whilst a ban is in force, credit providers cannot see information on your personal, public or commercial credit report without your specific written permission.
Credit repair companies claim they can fix your credit report or clear your credit history. Be careful of ‘credit repair' style organisations. Some companies claim to be able to remove negative information from your credit report and charge you to do so. This can often cost over $1,000 and it is likely you are required to pay up front.
Free services available to help
By contacting your credit provider or a credit reporting body they can investigate for free and correct information on your credit report if it is inaccurate. If you are still unsure on what to do you can also ask a financial counsellor or community legal service for advice.
Free financial counselling is available from the National Debt Helpline by calling 1800 007 007.
In addition, if you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation by the credit provider or credit reporting body you can utilise the services of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) to which the credit provider or credit reporting body is a member. They provide their services free to consumers.
For more information on the Equifax complaints process please visit our Complaints section in our Help Centre.
Need more information? ASIC MoneySmart also provides information on credit repair.
Our My Credit Alert service credit alerts are delivered to you via email. There is no need to log in to manage your details.
If you have an annual subscription to the My Credit Alert service, your alerts will be sent to the email address you supplied when you signed up for the service.
If you would like to change the email address for your alerts, please contact us or call 13 8332.
Or you can login at the Equifax site to manage your annual subscription to any of these Equifax personal credit and identity products: