The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

How to protect yourself

Protect your identity – don’t become an identity theft victim!

Identity theft is more likely to occur if you make it easy for someone to take and use your identity information.

There are a number of things you can do to protect your identity information:

  • Be careful with your identity information, how much you give out and who you share it with.
  • If someone asks for your identity information, ask why the organisation or individual needs it, and what they intend to do with it.
  • Keep key documents that are used to establish your identity (e.g. birth certificate and passport) in a safe and secure place.
  • Make sure you properly dispose (shred or burn) of bank statements, electricity bills and any piece of correspondence with your name and address on it. These documents should never be put in public rubbish bins or recycling bins. Consider getting your statements provided online – it’s good for you and the environment too.
  • Be cautious, identity crime does not always result from information that is stolen; people often give it away by publishing it in public places (e.g. date of birth posted on a social networking website).
  • If you use Internet banking, do not log on from a shared or public computer, such as an Internet café, to make any sensitive transactions.
  • Remove all personal information from computers before you dispose of them.
  • Be suspicious of any unexpected events (e.g. letters from creditors, bank transactions you can’t remember making) that could be the result of identity crime.
  • Request an access register report from Births, Deaths and Marriages at the Department of Internal Affairs. This is a free service that allows people to find out who has applied to access their records (e.g. whether or not a certificate/printout was issued) since 25 January 2009.
  • Request a credit report from Dun & Bradstreet or Veda.  Note that from 1 April 2012 a "positive" credit reporting system will operate in New Zealand. Further changes to the credit report system can be found on the Privacy Commissioner website.