Credit checks & the Optus breach

Sep 30, 2022

In this week's video I talk about credit checks - what they are and whether you should be doing them regularly in light of the Optus data breach.

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Hey, and welcome to Mel's Money Musings.

So today, as a result of the Optus data breach in Australia, I wanna talk about credit reporting and using things like credit agency reports to check what's happening with your credit file. Cause there's been a lot of talk about things like ID Care and Equifax and Illion and credit checks in the news when it comes to the Optus data breach recently. And what I know is that not everyone knows what those things are, what it means for them and what they should be doing with them.

And the truth is, for those people that have had their data hacked with Optus, they're going to be able to get 12 months worth of credit with Equifax so that they can check their credit score as many times as they want to make sure that nothing untoward is happening. But you may not realise that you can check your credit score for free using one of those platforms once a year.

And here's why you should. So if you are thinking about refinancing, going for a loan or any sort of credit, a few months before you are ready to do that, it would serve you to jump onto a credit reporting agency and check what your credit score is. That's because it may surprise you to know that an account that you had that you've completely forgotten about has meant that there's a black mark on your credit score that you simply weren't aware of. Or I've had clients in the past where they had shared houses where bills were in their name and they now have a black mark against them because that account was let go, not closed down properly, and the final bill wasn't paid. And they've had to work to pay that and to remove it before they go for a loan.

Of course, when a data breach happens, it also lets you know if someone has tried to apply for credit and it wasn't you, and it means that you can do something about it. So using things like Equifax, Illion or simply Googling free credit score checks is a really easy way once a year of making sure that your credit score is as good as it should be. And it's also realising when you do that things like when you apply for Afterpay, when you apply for interest free loans, when you apply for credit cards and all of these other credit facilities, they all show up and effect your credit score. So it's really important to understand and to see it in black and white and to see what that means for you.

Now, for those Optus customers that have had their data breached, as I said, Optus are offering you 12 months with Equifax. So make sure you take that up. And if you are really concerned, there is something called ID Care where you can put a 21 day ban on any credit, uh, applications, on any banks accessing your credit data. If you've ever been concerned that you've been subject to a privacy or a data hack, so maybe your computer's been stolen, you wallets been stolen, um, or you've been the subject for an Optus, a data breach like just happened here.

No matter what, these are good things to be doing anyway. The Optus data breach has simply reminded us of what we should be doing.

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