Safety in the Great Southern: Watch out for scammer’s ID ruse
Money is not the only thing scammers are looking to steal these days — your personal identification can be just as valuable to them.
As part of their ruse, scammers posing as legitimate organisations or government service providers often pretend to need copies of your driver’s licence and passport to verify your identity, when their actual aim is to steal it.
Having your identity stolen can cause devastating and long-lasting impacts, from finding unauthorised purchases on your credit card to having your name used to open bank accounts, take out loans and even scam other people.
Just recently, Consumer Protection issued a warning about a fake WA Seniors Card website that was targeting seniors for both their money and multiple forms of identification. In reality, the WA Seniors Card is free of charge and applicants are never requested to pay a fee or disclose personal identification in exchange for membership.
Aside from sending scammers your personal information, the other way they can get their hands on it is through data breaches that occur when cybercriminals hack into an organisation’s system and leak their customers’ details on to the dark web.
To help protect all WA consumers from identity theft, the Department of Transport has made it possible to put a block on your driver’s licence to stop it from being used to verify your identity online.
Putting a block on your driver’s licence or learner’s permit means if a scammer tries to use these documents for identity verification through the Australian Government’s Document Verification Service, it will be declined.
You can add and remove a driver’s licence block anytime using DoTDirect by navigating to the “Protect your identity” section on the driver’s licence page. Your authority to drive is not affected by having a block on your driver’s licence.
To learn more about what to do when your driver’s licence has been compromised, including how to block it or apply for a new licence number, go to www.transport.wa.gov.au.
If you are caught up in a data breach, or have handed over your personal identification to scammers, your first step should be to contact IDCARE, a national identity and cyber support service on 1800 595 160.
Steph Marsh is the senior regional officer for the Great Southern at the Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety.
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