THE Office of Fair Trading is urging consumers and businesses to 'get smarter with your data' during National Consumer Fraud Week.
Fair Trading Acting Executive Director Tony Johnson said consumers and business needed to think about protecting their personal information from identity theft.
National Consumer Fraud Week is May 18-24. RELATED: ONLINE TROLLS STEALS IDENTITY TO BEFRIEND SOLDIERS
"Sadly, identity crime is now one of the most common crimes in Australia, with an estimated economic impact exceeding $1.6 billion in Australia every year," Mr Johnson said.
"Scammers will use your identity for all sorts of crimes. They can make unauthorised purchases on your credit card, open a bank account, take out loans and carry out other illegal business under your name.
"Having your identity stolen can be both financially and emotionally devastating. It can take months to reclaim your identity, and the impact of having it stolen can last for years.
"The good news is there are ways to minimise the risk of identity theft.
"National Consumer Fraud Week 2015 is all about learning how to identify threats and prevent scammers stealing your identify."
To protect yourself against identity crime, follow these tips:
- keep your personal details secure
- think twice about what you say and do in an online environment
- keep your mobile devices and computers secure choose your passwords carefully
- beware of any request for your details or money
- get a copy of your credit report.
You should contact your bank or credit union immediately if you think your banking details might have been compromised.