What to do if you’re affected by a privacy breach

Have you been told by a Queensland government agency that your privacy may have been breached?

A privacy breach can occur when there is a failure to comply with one or more of the privacy principles set out in the Information Privacy Act 2009 (Qld).

This guide will help you in identifying a few key steps you can take to minimise your risk of harm.

If you want more details about the privacy breach and how it might affect you, contact the agency who experienced the breach directly.

What steps can I take to reduce my risk of harm?

What type of personal information is involved?

The first step is to find out what type of information was involved in the breach.  If you don’t already know, ask the agency.  Having a better understanding of the type of information involved and how the breach might affect you, will help you plan your response.

Financial Information

If you have been told, or suspect that, your credit card or banking details may have been compromised, notify your financial institution immediately.

Change your password and/or security questions. Consider using two-factor authentication if available. This will add an extra layer of security.

Check your bank statements.

Request a copy of your credit report:  See here for information about how to request a copy of your credit report: https://static.moneysmart.gov.au/files/publications/your-credit-report.pdf

Where personal information, other than credit card or account numbers was breached, take steps to secure your credit card and bank accounts. For example, if your email address was released and that email address is your login for your online banking (also consider PayPal or other online payment providers), it can be important to notify your bank and/or change your login. Some people may use dates of birth or other personal details that may have been released as part of their passwords or security questions.

Contact Information

If information such as your name, address, phone number has been breached, change your passwords on your accounts, including social media and email accounts.  If your think your health or safety is at risk, contact the police.

If you think you might be at risk of domestic violence:

  • Call the police on Triple Zero (000) in an emergency
  • Contact DVConnect.  DVConnect is a 24-hour statewide domestic violence hotline that offers free, professional assistance such as counselling, intervention, transport and emergency accommodation for people in danger from a violent partner or family member
  • Womensline: 1 800 811 811
  • Mensline: 1 800 600 636
  • Visit https://www.esafety.gov.au/women for tips on how to safely use technology and remain connected if you are experiencing online abuse as part of domestic and family violence.

Be alert to potential scam emails, phone calls or texts. Information on protecting yourself from scams is available on the ScamWatch website: https://www.scamwatch.gov.au

Identity Information

If you are concerned you might be the victim of identity fraud as a result of the privacy breach, immediately report it to the police.

Ask the police for a reference number and for a copy of the police report. You may need to show these to banks, financial institutions and government agencies.

Contact the relevant organisation that issued the identity document and your financial institution to let them know what happened.

Contact ID Care , Australia’s national identity and cyber support service, to get expert advice and support from a specialist identity and cyber security counsellor.