Physical Theft of Credentials

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Identity theft following the loss or theft of credentials

Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves the use of someone’s personal information. Credentials that contain personal information such as driver licences and passports are of most value to criminals. This Fact Sheet provides information about what you can do to prevent the theft of your physical identity documents and steps you can take if it ever happens to you. 

Quick Facts
  • There is the possibility that if your credentials are stolen you will experience identity theft. 
  • Targeted credentials include passports, driver licences, Medicare cards, credit cards, bank statements, tax statements, and utility bills. 
  • Credentials may be stolen from cars, homes, unattended wallets, and/or unsecured or irregularly checked mailboxes.
  • The most common identity misuses reported to IDCARE following theft of credentials are the creation of new accounts (such as credit card or transaction accounts) or gaining access to existing bank accounts. 
  • Where renewed bank cards are stolen from the mail, the criminals may pose as the bank through telephone calls in order to illicit more personal or account information, such as password and login details.

  • Ensure your home has adequate physical security measures to deter thieves.
  • Lock your doors, even when you are at home.
  • Keep credentials in a secure place at home.  If you can't lock them up, make sure that their storage location is not obvious or too easily accessible.
  • Lock your letterbox and, if you are going away, arrange for someone to collect your mail and keep an eye out. 
  • Arrange for alternative ways to receive your credentials and statements than by mail (eg. collecting in person or receiving statements by email).
  • Avoid leaving your wallet and documents in your vehicle or highly visible locations.

Detection & Response
  • Make a note of when you are likely to receive credentials and statements and don’t delay chasing them up if they don’t arrive. 
  • Check your credit report – it’s free to do so every three months. Check out our Fact sheets on Credit Reports.
  • If you suspect credentials and statements are stolen, let the issuing organisations know, notify your bank and ask for more security, and place a ban on your credit file (it’s free to do this and it will prevent most criminals from getting credit in your name). 
  • Contact IDCARE by submitting a Support Request Form or call 1800 595 160 (Aus) / 0800 121 068 (NZ). 

For more information on identity theft please see our other fact sheets;

For additional support or information, contact IDCARE by submitting a Get Help Form or call 1800 595 160 (Aus) or 0800 121 068 (NZ).


Identity Care Australia & New Zealand Ltd (IDCARE) provides identity and cyber security incident response services (the Services) in accordance with the following disclaimer of service:

  • IDCARE is Australia and New Zealand’s national identity and cyber incident community support service. IDCARE is a not-for-profit and registered Australian charity.
  • The Services provided do not constitute legal advice. IDCARE recommends that you consult your own legal counsel in relation to your legal rights and obligations, including but not limited to your legal rights or obligations under Australian and international privacy and data protection laws.
  • While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the content provided, to the maximum extent permitted by law all conditions, terms, representations, and warranties (in each case, whether express or implied) in connection with the provision of the Services which might otherwise be binding upon IDCARE are excluded.
  • IDCARE’S liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person or organisation (including, without limitation, any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage) arising out of or in connection with the Services (including without limited liability for any negligent act or omission, or statement, representation or misrepresentation of any officers, employees, agents, contractors or consultants of IDCARE) shall be limited to the fees paid by you to IDCARE in respect of the Services. For the avoidance of doubt, this limitation of liability extends to any liability arising from any actions performed or not performed as a result of any recommendations made in the course of providing the Services.
  • If you would like to provide feedback please use our Feedback Form.


IDCARE is here to provide you with specialist support and guidance when faced with a cyber and identity related issue. Contact one of our Identity & Cyber Security Case Managers to learn more about our Support Services and how we can help you.   

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