If you’re an Optus customer or have been watching the news at all this past week, you’d no doubt be aware of the large-scale security breach that occurred on the 22nd of September.
Of course, this unprecedented cyberattack has sent shockwaves through the company and put other Telcos on high alert. But with thousands of current and past customers now at risk of identity theft, what are the impacts? And how can you protect your identity?
Protecting your credit is critical when it comes to data breaches such as this. Your data may be compromised if you are currently or have been a customer of Optus at any stage since 2017. And when we say data, we don’t just mean your phone number or emails; this could include driver’s licenses and passports, meaning that the scammers now have information regarding your identity and access to your credit.
At this stage, payment details and passwords have not been compromised, but your credit may still be at risk as the hackers may have enough information to steal your identity and apply for credit in your name.
The Australian Federal Police are looking into the cyberattack, and Optus is providing ongoing updates. Still, it is situations like this where we must stress the importance of prevention rather than a cure.
It may be easy to say, “it won’t happen to me”, or “it’s not a big deal”, but when identity theft occurs, it can be incredibly scary and challenging to resolve. For this reason, we suggest regularly checking your credit score and putting identity protection measures in place, even if you haven’t been affected by the Optus cyberattack.
While Optus is offering current and former customers who they deemed most at risk the option to take up a 12-month subscription to Equifax Protect at no cost, we would suggest doing this even if Optus have not contacted you.
Our suggestion is first to run a free personal credit report from Equifax. This is a great basic credit report that you can get for free. However, we highly recommend their full subscription option – Equifax Credit & Identity Protect. This subscription will notify you of any activity on your credit file, provide a full credit report every month and, depending on your eligibility, may provide insurance in the event of identity theft.
Other free online credit score tools include Credit Simple – Check your credit score and credit report for free and Credit Savvy – Free credit score and credit report summary.
If you have questions regarding your credit score or want to safeguard your finances better, give PCR Accounting & Advisory a call today on 03 9847 7516.
Owner of PCR Accounting & Advisory, Peter Marmara-Stewart is a top-tier accountant and financial advisor dedicated to helping clients reach their business goals and achieve financial freedom. Peter is highly regarded for his client-focused approach and entrepreneurial spirit, catering to a diverse range of professionals across a wide scope of industries all across the country. Peter’s expertise can help you plan effectively, set goals, maximise profits and protect your assets. Get in touch today on (03) 9847 7516.