Melburnians shredded their chances of falling victim to identity theft at the inaugural Shred Fest event hosted by the Andrews Labor Government.
Inspired by a New York initiative, Minister for Consumer Affairs Jane Garrett said a paper-shredding truck visited Footscray and Dandenong to give residents a free and safe way to destroy their personal documents.
Ms Garrett, joined by Victorian Privacy Commissioner David Watts, said throwing out documents in garbage bins left people vulnerable to thieves who steal identities for money or other benefits.
Identity crime costs Australia more than $1.6 billion each year, with the majority lost to credit card fraud, identity theft and scams.
Since January, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission statistics show identity theft has cost more than $660,000 and affected more than 5,500 Australians.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received more than 150 reports of identity scams over the past two years.
Ms Garrett encouraged all Victorians to protect themselves by shredding any bill, letter, address label, or piece of paper with identifying information such as account numbers, to help stop identity thieves in their tracks.
People can also ask for bills or statements to be sent electronically for added security.
If you think an identity theft or misuse of personal details has occurred, you can seek advice from iDcare, the national identity theft support service. For information, visit idcare.org.
If you believe your personal information has been misused to steal money or commit other crimes, you should also report it to police.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming & Liquor Regulation Jane Garrett
“Everyone should properly protect themselves from identity theft by shredding old bank statements, phone bills or health records.”
“Scammers will go to extreme lengths to steal people’s identities – including rifling through rubbish bins – so shredding confidential documents will stop criminals in their tracks.”
“Shred Fest is about giving everyone in the community access to shredders to stop confidential information falling into the wrong hands.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020