Another term for credit fraud is ‘identity theft’.
One of the most common forms of credit fraud is committed by 'criminals stealing' the identity of another individual.
This happens when someone steals or obtains your identity details without you knowing and uses the information to obtain credit for themselves and this can leave you with a bad credit record. This is because all criminals do not have the intention to pay the account off. This action leaves you with a debit for which you are liable for. It can damage your credit reputation and cause you continual distress until resolved.
If you suspect that your identity has been stolen then you are responsible for contacting the Police and your credit provider immediately to inform them of your situation.
You should also contact Equifax so that a record of this is loaded onto your credit file.
We recommend you regularly check your credit file. You can manage your credit reporting information throughout the year with My Credit Alert which includes your credit file. However, you are also entitled to get a copy of your credit report for free (to be supplied within 10 business days) or if you require this more quickly for a modest amount (to be supplied within 3 business days) – you can find out more on our Products page.
Credit fraud is a crime. If you believe that information held on your credit file has been caused by another individual fraudulently using your identity details, then you should immediately:
- Contact the police and report the crime
- Obtain a copy of your credit file if you haven’t already done so
- Contact the credit providers involved and inform them of the fraudulent activity, otherwise they may hold you responsible for any bad debt incurred
- Contact your solicitor who can assist you with this matter and communicate the theft to the applicable credit providers
When dealing with credit providers you must keep all notes of all the conversations you have, including names, contact number and the date that you spoke to them. Each credit provider is different and you need to ask questions to ensure that you understand their process on how they handle fraud.
The credit providers will then conduct their own investigations and they will notify Equifax of the outcome. When this is done we will be able to remove any fraudulent information from your credit file.
Yes. You can reduce the chances of credit fraud happening to you.
Equifax has a product called My Credit Alert which may be useful to help detect and prevent identity theft. Identity theft is when a person takes your identity details – such as your name, credit card number, or any other identifying information, without your permission and then uses your identity to obtain credit (i.e. to open accounts, take out loans, buy cars etc.).
My Credit Alert will notify you within 24 hours via email, with details of who is accessing your credit file and the purpose of this access.
Other steps to protect your identity:
- File a report with your local police station.
- Obtain a copy of your credit file to confirm if someone has used your identity.
- Contact the credit providers directly and inform them of the fraudulent activity, otherwise they will hold you liable and responsible for any bad debt incurred. Close any accounts that have been interfered with or opened fraudulently.
- Call and report the matter to each Credit Reporting Agency within New Zealand to notify them so that they can update their records.
Remember, identity theft can happen to anyone.
We recommend you regularly check your credit file. You can manage your credit reporting information throughout the year with My Credit Alert which includes your credit report and credit alerts.
You can find out more about all of our services on our Products page.
In order to report to Equifax that your ID has been lost or stolen you need to have already reported the ID as lost or stolen to the Police.
In order for Equifax to display that your ID has been lost or stolen on your credit file, we require the following information/documentation from you:
- A copy of the police report.
- A letter from you reporting your lost or stolen ID.
Where you believe that you have been, or are likely to be, a victim of fraud (including identity fraud) and you can verify who you are, you can contact a credit reporter (such as Equifax) and ask for an initial suppression for a ten day period.
In return you may be given a unique password or PIN.
This suppression (or ban), if you can verify your identity, and if granted, aims to block access to your credit file for the purpose of originating new credit - taking out a loan using your identity.
Please note: your credit file will still be updated with default information such as defaults on debts, judgments or insolvencies.
At the end of the ten days you may apply to extend the suppression but you will need to produce evidence of the likelihood of fraud e.g. a police report. You may also ask Equifax to lift the suppression to enable you to apply for credit.
Please visit the Credit File Suppression page to find out more.
Below is a sample of what an alert may look like:
My Credit Alert: Activity has occurred on your Credit File.
Below is additional information we received for your credit file you have requested us to monitor.
If you have any questions regarding this information please do not hesitate to contact our Personal Information Team on 0800 692 733 (MYCREDITINFO).
Hits to Date:
REASON: (i.e. Consumer inquiry etc.)