prevent identity theftJoin MyCRA Lawyers as we support ‘Stay Smart Online Week’ running 2 – 6 June 2014. This week aims to help Australians using the internet – whether at home, the workplace or school – understand the simple steps they can take to protect their personal and financial information online.

This year’s theme – ‘On The Go’ – reflects the importance of staying safe and secure online while using mobile devices when social networking, banking, shopping, and navigating the internet. In this post, we give you an overview of what MyCRA Lawyers will be doing to promote awareness during Stay Smart Online Week 2014, and briefly explain why we choose to partner in this week and how important staying smart online is for the safety of your credit file.

By Graham Doessel, Non-Legal Director of MyCRA Lawyers

Stay Smart Online - Proud Partner LR

The 2014 Stay Smart Online Week (formerly Cybersecurity Awareness Week) is the seventh consecutive annual event conducted by the Australian Government in partnership with industry, the community sector and all levels of government.

A range of activities are taking place around Australia, including seminars, industry events and community activities which you can attend or participate online.

What will MyCRA Lawyers be doing during Stay Smart Online week?

Monday: Staying Smart Online: Why you need to subscribe to Stay Smart Online Alerts.

Tuesday: We will be exploring the theme for this year “On The Go” and look at how you can best secure your mobile device when social networking, banking, shopping and generally on the internet, as well as the ramifications of not securing your devices.

Wednesday: We look at how you can protect your child online – particularly when it comes to their credit file. If you are a parent, and didn’t realise your children can be vulnerable to identity theft, then you don’t want to miss this post.

Thursday: We are holding Stay Smart Online Awareness Day in our office. The team is getting involved and wearing the Stay Smart Online colours to promote this week. We will also be putting out a series of Facebook posts around crucial online safety topics. Don’t miss out on our great safety tips for protecting yourself and your credit file. In addition, we will post in our blog about Facebook itself in more depth and take a look at the dangers of Facebook to your credit file.

Friday: We look in more detail the reasons why online security and savviness is so important for your credit file, and feature the best tips to protect yourself in the online space to prevent credit file misuse.

Why did MyCRA Lawyers choose to partner for Stay Smart Online Week?

It has never been a more important time to think about protecting personal information.

Recent statistics released from the Australian Institute of Criminology show 1 in 5 Australians surveyed had been a victim of identity theft. The survey revealed 1 in 5 Australians have had their personal information misused, and 10 per cent had experienced the misuse in the past year. The statistics are higher than similar research conducted in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Dr Clare Sullivan, an identity crime expert and law lecturer at the University of South Australia, says people get upset about the loss of money, but that was usually temporary, and was actually the least of their worries.

“It’s the loss of identity. Once that has been compromised it’s compromised forever. People don’t realise how important that is and it could come up in six months or a year’s time or five years’ time,’’ she told following the release of the survey.

It is precisely this loss of identity which can lead to an even bigger type of fraud than simple bank or credit card fraud. If a fraudster is able to garner enough personal details to get duplicate documents in your name, they not only have your identity – they have access to your credit rating as well. This means they can take out credit in your name…and if they’re well-versed in this process – it may not be evident your identity is even compromised until you go to take out credit yourself and are refused.

Unravelling the tangled web of identity theft at this point can be at times impossible. And unlike bank or credit card fraud, there’s not always reimbursement to be found. Some victims have found they have had to cop the 5 year default on their credit file, because they don’t understand and therefore can’t prove how the identity theft occurred in the first place.

So our message this week is: take heed online, and safeguard your personal information to prevent identity theft and credit file misuse.

For more information on credit file misuse, or to get more help or information about the security of your credit file, visit our main site, or you can contact us on 1300 667 218.


Image 1: marin/

Image 2: Courtesy of Stay Smart Online