Identity theft is when someone uses your identity information to pretend to be you.
Information that can be stolen includes your:
- date of birth
- place of birth
- telephone numbers
- passport details
- driver licence
- bank account numbers
- email addresses
- social networking details.
If you’re a victim of identity theft you might not realise until some time after the offence.
What to do if you’re the victim of identity theft
If you suspect or know that someone is fraudulently using your identity in any way, you should contact the police. You’ll also need to contact the organisation your identity information is connected with — for example, the Department of Internal Affairs for a stolen passport, your bank for compromised bank accounts or credit cards.
Use the Department of Internal Affairs’ online checklist to get advice specific to your circumstances.
You can also get free help from IDCARE — New Zealand’s national identity theft support service.
Freephone: 0800 201 415
There have been cases of identity theft where someone applies for credit using another person’s name. You can ask a credit reporting company not to release your credit information if you think you’re the victim of fraud.
How to protect yourself
A lot of your identity information is publicly available. If you control the amount of information you release, you can reduce the chance of someone stealing your identity.