The ACCC has reminded consumers to be careful in protecting their superannuation account statements in particular and all their personal information more generally.
The Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, Senator Nick Sherry, recently issued a warning for Australian workers to exercise extra care in protecting their superannuation account statements and personal details. This is in response to information from the New South Wales Police Force that a Sydney-based fraud syndicate is using stolen identities to steal from victims’ superannuation accounts.
Syndicate members have allegedly stolen superannuation statements and used other counterfeit identity documents to set up self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). The offenders then open bank accounts and arrange for cash to be “rolled over” from legitimate funds into the fraudulent accounts.
The minister has advised that the vast majority of Australian workers have superannuation funds that are regulated by the Australian Prudential and Regulatory Authority (APRA). These funds are protected by law against theft and fraud. However, consumers should always be vigilant and careful to protect their personal information.
Fraudsters can use personal information to steal your identity.
Identity theft works in a range of ways, from simple methods to well organised scams. Many of us have a wealth of personal information readily available—cards in our wallet, mail, public records, information saved in our computers and information posted on social networking sites.
Identity theft can happen easily and quickly. By leaving your personal information readily available, scammers will have easy access to this information. For example, fraudsters will pay people to rummage through rubbish tips and steal letters, household bills and bank statements (also referred to as “dumpster diving”) to collect personal information.
The following are some Warning signs to watch out for:
- You notice that amounts of money go missing from your bank account without any explanation.
- You are unable to obtain credit or a loan because of an unexplainable bad credit rating.
- A caller pushes you to provide personal information and discourages you from checking whether it’s a genuine request.
- You get an email or a telephone call out of the blue asking you to “validate” or “confirm” banking details.
- Regularly check your credit card, bank and superannuation statements to ensure that suspicious transactions are detected.
- Shred all documents containing personal information, such as credit card applications and bank statements. NEVER send money or give personal details to people you don’t know and trust.
- If you receive a call from your bank or any other organisation, don’t provide your personal details—instead ask for their name and a contact number.
- Check with the organisation in question before calling back. Never rely on a number provided in an email or click on the provided link—instead find the contact number through an internet search or back of your automatic teller machine (ATM) card.
- Log directly on to a website that you are interested in rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
- Always get independent advice if you are unsure whether an offer/request is genuine.
Read more about what fraudulent behaviors to watch out for on the Rushmore Forensic blog.
About Rushmore Forensic
Andrew Firth is a Forensic Accountant in Sydney and Director of Rushmore Forensic. He has over 12 years experience investigating accounting irregularities, undertaking corporate intelligence and conducting other forensic accounting assignments. Andrew is a former investigator with the Serious Fraud Office in the UK. He has also worked for KPMG and Deloitte during his career. Andrew is based in Sydney and provides forensic accounting services throughout Australia. If you have a matter which requires expert advice, please don’t hesitate to contact Andrew Firth for a complimentary and confidential discussion.