Help! Someone’s stolen my identity and used it to apply for credit. What do I do?
If you’re a victim of fraud or if you’re concerned that you’ll likely be, there is one very important step you can take to minimise the impact.
Place a ban on your credit report
One of the primary aims of identity fraud is to apply for credit in somebody else’s name.
To prevent this, a ‘ban’ can be placed on your credit report. This means that for the duration of a ban, a Credit Reporting Body (CRB) will not use or disclose any information from your credit report in the event of an application.
The CRB would respond to the provider that there is a ban in place which would prevent the application from proceeding and alert them to a potential fraudulent attempt and risk.
It’s important to remember that during a ban, if you were to apply for credit yourself, the provider would be unable to access your report and may well not be able to process your application.
With our partner CRB, Experian, a ban initially lasts for 21 days from the date the ban is placed and there’s no limit to the number of times a ban can be extended or the length of time a ban can be extended to. It’s also free to request a ban and any subsequent extensions.
As part of the ban process, you normally receive a full copy of your credit report which also shows the dates the ban is in place for.
To lift or extend a ban, you’ll need to contact the CRB directly.
Other things to consider
You could have a credit report with more than one CRB, so you’ll need to contact each of them to place a ban on your respective reports.
ASIC’s MoneySmart contains the links and contact details for each CRB and also a number of recommendations if you’re a victim of identity theft or fraud.
The team at Credit Savvy has also compiled some tips to avoid identity theft in the first place.
As always, keeping an eye on your credit score and credit report summary with Credit Savvy is a great way to protect and monitor your identity.
This article was originally published on Credit Savvy.