As you have probably seen from various news outlets, Optus has been the victim of a fairly high profile security breach that means that current and previous Optus customers who have had any account with them since 2017 have had their personal details compromised. What makes this case unique is that drivers licence and passport numbers have been included in this, which makes this a big deal in terms of the potential for identity theft. Here is what you need to know. Below is an summary inspired from the AusFinance Reddit community:
Change your Drivers Licence Number
The biggest and most important issue with this security breach is the fact that drivers licence numbers have been compromised. Although the hacker has “backed down” on releasing this information, it is still likely it will be made public sooner rather than later. At the time of writing, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia are allowing Optus Breach victims to change their driver’s licence at no cost. Head to your transport department website (eg. https://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/) for more details.
Be Extra Careful of Scams
Be on the watch for scams. Now that your data is potentially compromised, you are an easier target for scammers. Don’t trust anyone that calls you up and claims to be from the government (like the ATO) or from your bank and asks for you any information or money.
If this ever happens, ask them for a reference number, write it down, and hang up. Then use Google to look up a contact number for the bank or government department, and call them up separately, and provide the reference number.
If they were a scammer, then you avoided a scam. If they were legitimate, then you can continue now that you have verified the person calling you was from the bank/government that they claimed.
Get a FREE credit report
The biggest way hackers can make use of your identity information is to open up a bank account or credit card in your name, spend your money, and leave you with the debt. You may only find out about this when you apply for a mortgage years later.
To guard against this, you can ask for a FREE credit report from any of the 3 Credit Report Agencies:
If there is anything on your credit report that looks suspicious, or that you are not aware of, like a credit card you don’t have, then the Credit Reporting Agency can help investigate.
You can request a new report (for FREE) to check for suspicious activity every 3 months.
If you want to be extra thorough, request a report from all 3 agencies, because they each collect slightly different information.
Sign up to monthly credit score reports and activity
Your credit score is a single number that represents your overall credit situation. It is not as detailed as the credit report above, but it is still useful to monitor for unexpected changes.
Each of the above 3 Credit Reporting Agencies have separate tools that you can use to track your credit score and credit activity with that agency:
Depending on how thorough you want to be, you should consider registering for all 3 services, because each service will only report on changes it detects on the backing Credit Report Agency, and all 3 agencies have slightly different credit data for you.
(Optional) Get a PAID credit protection subscription
Equifax also provides a paid service called Credit Protect that sends you alerts whenever your credit report changes. This would happen whenever someone applies for a new credit card or bank account using your name, or any time anything about your credit history changes.
It costs $10/month for this service you will be notified immediately if someone is using your identity for credit.
(Optional) Apply for a Credit Ban
If you don’t want to pay for the Credit Protect service, an alternative is to put a complete ban on your credit. This will stop any of Credit Agencies from providing your information to anyone, meaning that no one can open up any bank accounts or credit cards in your name unless you write to them and allow it.
Applying for a credit ban from one agency will impose a ban across all 3 Credit Reporting Agencies. If you want to do this, then here are some more details.
Upgrade to 2FA/2 Factor Authentication
2FA a security check where to login to an app or service, you also need your phone to receive an SMS with a code to confirm you are the same person trying to login. This means that if your password gets stolen, the hacker will also need to steal your phone to hack your account, which is very unlikely, and therefore very secure compared to just a simple username & password login.
It is important to enable 2FA for your most important accounts such as Banks, Email Accounts and Social Media Accounts.
Get Help from the Amigo Team
Staying on top of your information security is incredibly important. If you are having difficulties with any of these steps, don’t hesitate to reach out to the friendly Amigo Technology support team and we’ll do our best to step you through this process. You can contact us via the self-service portal or call us on 0754084607.