Optus Data Breach - Frequently Asked Questions

Optus has now finalised its process for reimbursing passport holders impacted by the Optus data breach. Please phone Optus on 133 937 to obtain a reimbursement.

On 24 September, Optus announced it had experienced a cyberattack on 22 September 2022, which may have resulted in unauthorised access to current and former customers’ information.

Optus has since advised the Australian Passport Office (APO) that over 100,000 Australian passport numbers were compromised through the recent data breach. Optus is contacting impacted customers directly.

If Optus has advised you that your passport number was compromised through this incident, you don’t need to replace your Australian passport.

Your passport is still safe to use for international travel. The passport numbers cannot be used to obtain a new passport. Robust controls are used to protect passports from identity takeover, including facial-recognition technology.

The government has taken rapid action to protect victims of this incident, including the blocking of compromised passports in the Document Verification Service (DVS). Government departments (like Centrelink) and financial organisations (like banks) use the DVS, an online system, to check identity documents are valid before granting access to services and support.

If you’re impacted by the Optus data breach, you should first contact Optus customer service directly on 133 937.

For more information, see also:

  • Optus' Passport Information webpage
  • Our Frequently Asked Questions below providing passports-related advice on the data breach
  • The Australian Cyber Security Centre's Optus data breach alert.

Need help in another language? See our translated fact sheets.

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, you can contact the national-relay-service.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my Australian passport still safe to use for international travel purposes?

Yes. Your passport is still safe to use for international travel. Your passport details can’t be used by someone else to travel under your identity. They would need your physical passport to do this.

What about identity fraud?

We understand impacted Optus customers may be concerned their Australian passport could be used to conduct identity fraud.  

The federal government has also taken the following steps to protect impacted customers.

Blocking affected Australian passports through the Document Verification Service (DVS)

Government departments and financial organisations like banks use the DVS, an online system, to check identity documents are valid before granting access to health and welfare payments or financial services, such as home loans.

The Australian Government has blocked passports compromised as part of the Optus breach from verifying through the DVS.

This means your identity will stay safe and secure.

Changes to the telecommunications regulations

The federal government is amending regulations to allow telecommunications companies to temporarily share approved government identifier information with regulated financial service entities. For example, your driver licence or Medicare number.

This will allow these financial entities to implement enhanced monitoring and safeguards for impacted customers.

The government has designed these regulations with strong privacy and security safeguards. Only limited information will be available for specific purposes.

Optus will also be allowed to share identifiers to help the government, state and territory agencies to detect and prevent fraud.

What if I need to access government or financial services using my passport?

The government has blocked all compromised Australian passports from being used as a form of identity through the Document Verification Service (DVS). This protects victims of the Optus data breach from serious misuse of their identity information.

Impacted customers should consider using alternative credentials to prove their identity or speak to the service provider about other options. For example, presenting your physical passport in person.

Once my Australian passport has been blocked through the DVS, can I still use it as a form of identity in Australia?

Yes. If you take your passport physically with you to an institution or establishment as proof of identity, it can be used. You won’t be able to use it to verify your identity online. For example, if you’re using it to apply for a home loan online.

Will I still be able to get an International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) if my Australian passport has a block on it?

Yes. You can still get an ICVC using an affected Australian passport. The easiest way to get an ICVC is by using your Medicare account through myGov or the Express Plus Medicare mobile app. See Services Australia for more information. As myGov is password protected and requires two-factor authentication, no-one can view your vaccination data.

If customers experience difficulties obtaining an ICVC, they should call the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) on 1800 653 809 (in Australia) or +61 2 8633 3284 (from overseas).

Could someone else get an Australian passport using my identity?

No. We use robust controls that protect you from identity takeover. This includes sophisticated facial recognition technology.

Do I need to get a new passport?

No. Due to the government’s rapid response to the breach you won’t need to replace your Australian passport.

If your passport number was released through the recent data breach, it can’t be used for travel by someone else.

The government has taken steps to prevent Australian passports compromised through the Optus breach from being used to access government and financial services. See above for more details.

I'm still nervous. Can I replace my Australian passport?

If you’re planning to travel soon, don’t apply for a replacement. We can’t guarantee you’ll get your new passport in time for your trip.

Before you apply to replace your Australian passport, you should be aware that:

  • APO is facing unprecedented demand for passports
  • we’re processing applications as quickly as possible
  • most passports are processed within 6 weeks, but some take longer.

Find out about getting a replacement Australian passport. If you’d like to replace your passport, please contact us.

Do I need to pay for my replacement passport?

On 30 September, the Prime Minister confirmed that Optus will cover the cost for impacted customers who want to replace their Australian passport due to the breach.

You will need to pay for your replacement passport upfront and then seek a reimbursement from Optus. Optus has finalised its reimbursement process. Phone Optus on 133 937 to obtain a reimbursement.

How much will it cost to replace my Australian passport?

If your passport is still valid for more than 2 years, it will cost $193 to get a replacement passport for the time remaining on your current passport.

If your passport is valid for less than 2 years, it will cost $308 to get a 10-year passport.

Can I cancel my Australian passport without getting a new one?

Yes, you can call us on 131 232 to cancel your Australian passport.

I'm currently overseas. How do I cancel my Australian passport?

Your passport will still be safe to travel with but if you want to cancel it, please visit your closest Australian embassy or consulate.

My Australian passport has expired. Can it be used fraudulently?

If it expired less than three years ago, it can still be used through the DVS. Government departments and financial organisations like banks use the DVS, an online system, to check identity documents are valid before granting access to services.

But the government has blocked all compromised Australian passports from being used as a form of identity through the DVS.  You can still take your passport physically with you to an institution or establishment as proof of identity.

My passport expired less than three years ago and is caught up in the Optus data breach. Can I get a replacement?

For more information, go to Optus' Passport Information webpage, or contact Optus customer service directly on 133 937.

What if I have a foreign passport?

You’ll need to contact the diplomatic or consular mission of the country that issued the passport.

I've received an email or phone call saying I was impacted by the Optus data breach.  How do I know this isn't a scam?

Optus is notifying impacted customers about the data breach. It has advised that it won’t send links in any emails or SMS messages.

Scammers may use your personal information to contact you by phone, text or email. Never click on links or provide personal or financial information to someone who contacts you out of the blue.

Learn how to protect yourself from scams by visiting www.scamwatch.gov.au.