Australians whose personal information has been stolen during a corporate IT hack or data breach should immediately ban and freeze access to their credit score and credit report at Equifax, Experian and Illion.
Federal government department Office of the Australian Information Commissioner suggest that:
“If you suspect fraud, you can request a ban on your credit report. We recommend that you make the request to all three credit reporting bodies in case they maintain a consumer credit report on you”
If your personal information gets stolen when a big company like an airline or mobile phone carrier gets hacked, the hackers can sell your information (name, date of birth, phone number, email address, driver’s licence number, passport number and address) to criminals who use it to apply for loans, mobile phone accounts and more.
One way to stop identity thieves from using your personal data to apply for mortgages, personal loans or more is to ban access to your credit record. Without access to that, banks won’t issue a loan and telcos won’t open a postpaid phone account.
In Australia the 3 main credit agencies also known as Credit Reporting Bodies who store your credit record are Experian, Equifax and Illion.
You can lodge a request to ban access for an initial 21 days or for 12 months to any of the 3 agencies and ask them to send a message to the other two as well. Or you can lodge a separate request to all 3.
Or you can apply for a credit record freeze using Commonwealth Bank’s Savvy Shield app for Android and Apple which is an easier and faster way to freeze your record via Experian which then also passes on a freeze request to Equifax and Illion.
Hat tip to Commonwealth Bank’s New Digital Businesses Pty Ltd division for providing this free app and service.