Protect yourself from identity theft and fraud
Are you doing enough to protect your assets? Don’t make it easy for fraudsters to use your personal data to access your financial and other accounts. We’ve put together a list of ways you can help protect the safety of your identity and your assets – including your Computershare accounts – on and offline, at home and on the go.
You can use our security checklist to see common steps you can take to protect yourself from fraud.
Using your devices
- Use the security functions that come with your computer or mobile device, including setting up a password/passcode for access. Make sure you maintain up to date software as updates aim to patch any potential vulnerabilities with previous versions. Learn more here.
- Schedule regular check-in’s for making sure security patches, anti-virus and anti-malware software, browser versions, mobile apps and plugins are up to date for all your devices. For more information click here.
Password and passcode security
- Always use the strongest password/passcode possible with a combination of letters, numbers, capital letter and special characters. Changing your password regularly is a simple way to protect your account for unauthorised access. For more information on creating secure passwords and passcodes, click here.
- Never leave a written copy of your passwords where they can be easily found near your computer or device, and don't share passwords or passcodes with anyone. If you do make a copy of your password, ensure this is kept somewhere secure, and do not store it in the same place as your username, this makes it easy for fraudsters to gain access quickly.
- Never use the same password for more than one account.
- Always use extreme caution when clicking a link in an email from Computershare or any other financial account site, even if the email seems legitimate. Watch out for emails, even ones that seem to be from entities you trust, that ask for personal or sensitive information, this may be a fraudulent email ‘phishing’ for information. Phishing emails will copy logos and email styles to appear genuine. To learn more about how to identify a suspicious email or website, click here.
- Do not respond to unsolicited emails requesting your security information, Computershare will never ask you for personal security details via email. If you have any doubt about the legitimacy of an email (or other method of contact) from a company, use an independent method to contact.
- Beware of phishing attempts: Phishing is a common method used by fraudsters to trick people into revealing their personal information. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, messaged or phone calls asking for sensitive information or directing you to click on suspicious links.
Out and about
- Don't use or leave your password or ID information in public view, such as on a sticky note on your computer. And beware of "shoulder surfers" – people behind you who may be watching you as you log in.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks, as often these do not require authentication or passwords, making it easy for fraudsters to intercept and obtain data. If you do need to use a public network for personal business, consider using a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs let you create an encrypted channel within a public network, keeping you safer online. Learn more.
- On shared computers and on mobile devices, always sign out from any website after using your credit or debit card information or passwords and usernames. If you can't sign off, close your browser to help keep others from accessing your account information as easily.
In the mail
- After you have finished with them, be sure to shred or destroy personal details on documents that contain personal or financial information before throwing them out.
- Go paperless. Sign up for online billing and financial statements and pay by direct debit, to help make sure your sensitive information – and your money – doesn't fall into the wrong hands.
- Notify all your financial institutions of your new address ahead of time if you move – make sure the next person in your home isn't getting your mail.
- Make sure someone you trust will collect your mail for you if you will be away or sign up for the "Keep Safe” service with Royal Mail. For more information on how to sign up, click here.
- Missing post may mean someone is tampering with your mail or your identity. If you suspect something is wrong, report it to the company or financial institution you were expecting mail from as soon as possible. Be extra careful if you live in a property where other people could have access to your mail or have an outside post-box.
- Look out for mail fraud, including chain letters, unsolicited merchandise and offers. If you notice you are receiving mail for people who do not live at your address, contact the sender to notify them as this could indicate your address is being used for fraudulent activities.
On the web and in the cloud
- Do not save personal or financial information on websites that lack security features. Secure networks should display a padlock icon in the address bar. For more information on how to tell if a website is secure, click here.
- Storing your financial documents on "cloud" services without proper security may make them searchable and accessible to others, exposing your sensitive information. If you need to keep a digital copy of a financial document, consider saving it locally on your computer or on a secure storage device.
- Check the SSL certificate: A secure URL always begins with “HTTPS” at the start instead of “HTTP”. The extra “S” in “HTTPS” stands for “secure”, which means that the website is using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificate.
- Check the URL: The padlock icon near your browser’s URL field is another indicator that a webpage is safe to visit. This icon usually appears in the address bar and means the site uses SSL encryption. A missing letter, a typo, and, in some cases, serious grammatical errors are clear signs that the site is not secure — that it is likely a scam attempt. In some cases, fake addresses replace characters, for example, changing the “o” to a zero. E.g g0ogle.com.
Using social media
- Don't publicly post sensitive information that your bank or other financial institutions, such as Computershare, might use to verify your identity such as your address or birthdate. A fraudster might use that information to impersonate you or to persuade you that you know them.
- Review the privacy options for the social media platforms you use to understand how to limit the amount of information you share. For more on using social media safely click here.
On the phone and at home
- Never give personal or financial information on a call that you did not initiate. Call a company back on their advertised number if you are not sure if it's genuine. For more information on phone safety, click here.
- Check your credit reports. Obtain free copies of your credit reports from the major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). This will allow you to have oversight of your financial accounts to ensure no one else is using your data.
- Make sure your home Wi-Fi is secure by protecting it with a strong password, as you would with any account.
- Monitor your financial accounts: regularly review your financial accounts and statements to identify any unauthorised transactions or activity. Report any suspicious activity to your financial institution immediately. You can report to Computershare if you have any concerns by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investment scams exist where fraudsters may cold-call investors offering to purchase their shares for more than the current market value or selling worthless, overpriced or even non-existent shares.
If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you are concerned you may have been contacted by a ‘boiler room’, you can find more information here.
For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud and stay up to date with the latest scams and fraud tactic here are some useful sites:
Click here for definitions of some common terms people use when talking about fraud and identify theft.
The content on this page is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to provide authoritative information security, data protection, or other professional or legal advice. Links to third party web sites and content do not constitute an endorsement or sponsorship by Computershare and Computershare does not represent or warrant that the contents of those web sites are accurate, compliant with any applicable law, or compliant with copyright or other intellectual property laws. Any reliance on the contents of a third party web site is at your own risk and you assume all responsibilities and consequences resulting from such reliance.