• What is identity crime?

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    Identity crime happens when someone uses a stolen, manipulated, or assumed identity to commit fraud or other crimes. It can involve creating a new identity, false identity, or using stolen information to impersonate someone else.

    Criminals can start using your identity with some basic details, such as your name, date of birth, and address. If your identity is stolen, it can take years to fix and you could face financial problems. You may also have problems getting a job, a loan, renting a house, or applying for government services or benefits.

    Identity criminals take other people's details by:

    • stealing purses, wallets, mail or mobile phones
    • sifting through rubbish
    • asking for your tax file number (TFN) as part of a fake job recruitment process
    • reading what you have shared on an online social networking site
    • asking questions while pretending to be from a government department or bank and offering to help you complete a tax return or other official document
    • luring you to click on a web link or email that captures your details.

    Criminals can use your stolen identity to:

    • live in Australia as a citizen
    • access your bank account and shop using your credit card
    • avoid paying tax, child support or Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments
    • steal your superannuation
    • apply for a government benefit
    • sell your house
    • avoid court appearances or jail.
      Last modified: 11 Jun 2015QC 43357