Protecting against scams and identity theft

Identity theft

Identity theft is when someone tries to steal and use your personal information to defraud or harm you. You’re at greater risk of identity theft if your personal information is compromised. Personal information includes your:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • address
  • passport details
  • bank account details
  • username and passwords.

How to protect your identity

Your passport has key personal information that makes it a target for identity theft. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • don’t share photos of your passport online
  • only disclose your passport information to trusted organisations with a legitimate need for it – it's okay to ask them what they’ll do with it
  • store your passport in a safe, secure place.

For more advice on protecting your personal information, see the eSafety Commissioner webpage.

Scams

Scams are designed to trick you into handing over money or personal information. Scammers use different methods, like phone calls, text messages or emails, and might pretend to be from a trusted government agency, like the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Scams can look genuine, and it can be difficult to tell when something is fake.

Scammers may ask for your personal information, or tell you to:

  • click on a link in an email or text message
  • provide identity information, including uploading identity documents
  • pay fees or repay a debt.

Scams often lead to the theft and misuse of a person’s identity.

For more information, see types of scams.

How to avoid a scam

The best way to protect yourself is:

  • Stop – don’t give money or personal information to anyone if unsure.
  • Think – ask yourself if the message or call may be fake?
  • Protect – act quickly if something feels wrong.

What to do about a scam

If you get a suspicious email or text message claiming to be from us:

  • don’t click on any links or open attachments
  • don’t respond to the sender
  • do report it
  • do delete the message.

Anyone can be a victim of a scam or identity theft. If you think you’ve fallen victim to a scam or your identity has been compromised or misused, it’s important to take steps quickly to limit damage to your identity or assets.

If you’re concerned, you can call IDCARE for advice and support. If you’ve received a scam message or call, report it to ScamWatch.

How to check if it’s really us

Sometimes, we need to contact you. However, there are things we don’t do. Outlined below are some ways you can tell if it’s really us.

We do call people, but you should be wary of unexpected phone calls claiming to be from us. Ask for the caller’s name and contact details. Then you can call us to check. You can also report it to passports.fraud@dfat.gov.au.

Don’t try to call us using a phone number someone has given you, as it might be fake. You can look up the correct number on our Contact Us page.

We do send people important information by emails, text messages and letters. Our messages may include:

  • requests and reminders to attend appointments
  • notification of a Registered Post tracking number letting you know your passport is on its way
  • passport renewal reminders.

What we don’t do

There are other things we don’t do, including sending unsolicited text or email messages asking you to:

  • click on links these messages* 
  • pay us money to release your information or fix your account
  • give us remote access to your computer
  • buy gift cards or vouchers.

* You may still receive a link in an expected email message from us, for example when you ask for a password reset or you send an enquiry to us.

We won’t offer you special deals. 

Further advice on how you can protect yourself from scams and identity theft is available on the following Australian Government websites: