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Prevent Credit Fraud with Credit Score Checks

With the rise of AI, global conflicts and cyber threats, 2021-22 saw an unprecedented amount of hacks and scams targeting Australians - up 13% from the previous year - so it’s no surprise we’re a hot target for cybercrime.

A cybercrime is reported in Australia every 7 minutes.

In the last financial year, the Australian Cyber Security Centre received over 76,000 reports of crimes such as extortion, espionage and fraud. That’s a report every 7 minutes.

According to the ACSC, fraud, online shopping and internet banking were the most reported cybercrimes, accounting for 54% of all reports. 

Pro Tip

After years of being told to protect your privacy, you likely know the drill - beware of suspicious emails and texts, regularly change your passwords and update your security settings.

But there’s a lesser-known step that’s equally as important when it comes to protecting yourself from identity theft and financial fraud.

Regularly checking your credit report and credit scores. 

Let’s take a look at why you should be making this a habit. 

Before we get stuck in, get up to speed on what credit scores are here.

Why should I check my credit report? 

Having an accurate credit report is important if you want to borrow money as a lender will use it to assess your creditworthiness and your ability to repay a loan. 

Keeping a close eye on your credit report will ensure false or fraudulent information is not appearing on your file.

Where can I see my credit report? 

You can view your credit profile for free with Wisr where within seconds you’ll be able to see all of your credit scores, credit enquiries and your repayment history. 

Alternatively, Australians can get one free credit check a year directly from credit reporting agencies - Equifax, illion and Experian.  But note, It can take a few days to receive your report usually by email so if you’re in a hurry you can ask to have it fast-tracked for a fee.  

You can also keep track of your Equifax and Experian credit scores as they’re updated each month by using the Wisr dashboard or Wisr App.

How do I check if I'm a victim of credit fraud?

Once you have a copy of your report, there’s a few things you should look for in your credit file. 

Your personal details: This includes your name, date of birth, employment history, drivers licence and other identifying documents. 

Your credit history: Details of any credit or loans you have applied for in your name triple-check you’re across all of these, overdue payments over 60 days and any infringements. An infringement such as bankruptcy, court judgments and debt agreements can remain on your credit report for up to 7 years depending on the severity so it’s important to check that these are accurate. 

Your repayment history: Whether you’ve missed any repayments or due dates. 

The age of your report: Note when the report was last updated to make sure it’s an accurate reflection of your circumstances. 

What if there’s an error on my credit report? 

If you do happen to spot false information in your report, you can request to have it amended. 

Australia’s privacy regulator the OAIC suggests contacting your credit provider or any credit reporting agency and asking for your details to be corrected. 

If you do request an amendment, the credit reporting body has 30 days to action it.

What should I do if I’m a victim of credit fraud?

Firstly, if you have been a victim of financial crime you’re not alone. 

Last year Australians reported losses of more than $381 million to Scamwatch. 

Falling for a scam might suck but you’re not alone, even the smartest cybersecurity experts have fallen victim to this stuff. 

If your personal details have gotten into the wrong hands, or you’re worried they will, you can take steps to prevent loans from being taken out in your name. 

A credit ban aka credit freeze makes your credit report inaccessible to lenders so identity thieves can’t open an account in your name. 

You can freeze your credit for free by contacting the big 3 credit reporting agencies Equifax, illion and Experian. To protect yourself you have to get a freeze across all three but you can ask one of them to do this for you. 

You can freeze and unfreeze your credit report as many times as you like. It’s worth noting that while a ban is in place lenders will likely decline any credit applications you make too, so you’ll have to unfreeze or thaw your credit before applying. thawing is a temporary lift of a credit ban

While a credit ban can protect you from financial fraud, it’s still important to monitor your credit file and credit scores regularly just in case. 

Keep all your credit scores in your back pocket with Wisr App. Sign up for free and we’ll notify you anytime your scores change.

How can I prevent credit fraud?

There are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

  1. Keep an eye on your credit report and credit scores

  2. Check your personal details and credit history is accurate

  3. Check when your credit report was last updated

  4. Set up alerts to be notified when your credit scores change

How can I learn more about credit fraud?

Read more about credit fraud and how to protect your privacy here.

Did you find this content helpful?

This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

Joanne is a respected leader of multiple disciplines within Banking, with 17+ years’ experience ranging from credit risk, product management, pricing, analytics and strategic project delivery.

Joanne, Chief Operating Officer

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