Act quickly if you are affected by a data breach

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An organisation that must comply with the Australian Privacy Act has to tell you if a data breach involving your personal information is likely to cause you serious harm.

If you are told about a data breach, you should act quickly to reduce your risk of harm. Keep a record of what you do as this may be useful if you experience harm.

The action you take depends on the information involved.

Contact information

If a data breach involves your contact information such as your home address, email or phone number, you should:

  • Change your email account passwords. If you emailed yourself passwords, change these as well. Enable multi-factor authentication if possible.
  • Take care with emails and phone calls as you may be targeted by scammers. Do not share your personal information until you are certain about who you are sharing it with.

Financial information

If a data breach involves your financial information such as your credit card or online banking login details, you should:

  • Change your online banking account passwords and your banking PIN number.
  • Advise your financial institution that your information has been involved in a data breach.
  • Check your account statements. If you spot any purchases you didn’t make, report these immediately to your financial institution.
  • Request a copy of your credit report to check if it includes any unauthorised loans or applications.

A government-issued identity document

If a data breach involves a government-issued identity document such as your driver’s license or Medicare details, you should:

  • Contact the agency that issued the identity document for advice using the contact details on their website.

Health information

If a data breach involves your health information such as your health care records or prescriptions, you should:

  • Contact your health service provider using the contact details on their website.

Tax-related information

If a data breach involves your tax-related information such as your tax file number, you should:

  • Contact the Australian Taxation Office using the contact details on ato.gov.au. They can monitor any unusual or suspicious activity with your tax file number.

Importantly, take care of yourself. If your physical safety is at risk, contact the police. If you are distressed, contact your doctor, a support service or your family or friends.

For more information visit oaic.gov.au/data-breaches

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