Whānako tuakiri tuihono

Online identity theft

Online identity theft is when someone gets personal information from someone else, and uses it for their own gain.

What it is

Identity theft is a form of . It's when someone uses your personal information to get something they're not entitled to, like a credit card, passport or driver licence.

How it works

When someone’s able to find enough personal information about you online, they can use it to pretend to be you. Even basic information like your name, date of birth, and address can be enough for someone to impersonate you.

Someone might pretend to be you to:

  • open bank accounts
  • get a credit card
  • get loans or benefits
  • take over your social media accounts, like your Facebook or Instagram account
  • order goods and services
  • get a mobile phone contract through a SIM swapping attack
  • get a government issued document, like a passport or driver licence.

If someone steals your identity, you may not realise it’s happened until:

  • you see that someone else has logged into, and is using, your social media accounts
  • you are unable to log into your accounts because someone else has logged in and changed your passwords
  • you get bills or invoices for things you didn’t order
  • you see charges on your bank statements or credit card for things you didn’t buy
  • you get turned down for a loan because your credit rating shows that you haven’t been paying your bills
  • a debt collector contacts you.