The identity theft case of Northern Tasmania's Louise Turner should serve as a poignant reminder to all.
It's not a new threat, but in a world where people share so much information about themselves, it's easier for con men or women to personally defraud you.
In fact, Attorney-General's Department estimates suggest identity crime costs Australia upwards of $1.6 billion annually.
And the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (2014-15) found that 8.5 per cent of Australians aged 15 and over have personal fraud with credit card theft and scams topping the charts.
A copy of your licence, bank card details and the like can be easily obtained by criminals who are in the know.
Those details can then be used against you by the perpetrators to open accounts in your name, apply for credit cards, loans, passport or benefits, register a vehicle and so on.
And as Ms Turner has shown, your identity is often harder to get back than you may think and it can take a toll on your fiscal and mental wellbeing.
It's important people remain vigilant and only purchase goods online from secure sources, hide key information on your social media profiles from the public and never give your personal details to anyone online or over the phone.
Among the Australian Federal Police's long list of tips to avoid being conned are:
- Secure your mailbox with a lock;
- Shred or destroy your personal and financial papers;
- Always cover the keypad at ATMs or on EFTPOS terminals;
- Ensure that the virus and security software on your computers and mobile devices is up-to-date and don't use public computers, or unsecured wireless hotspots to do internet banking;
- Don't respond to scam emails or letters promising huge rewards;
- Check your credit report once a year - it's free to do so and go to idcare.org; and
- If you suspect you have been scammed or you are a victim call the police.
Do yourself a favour, visit afp.gov.au and learn more about how to protect yourself.