If you believe you’re the victim of credit card fraud, or your personal financial information has been stolen (known as identity theft), then you must act straight away. Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Australia today.
Importantly, you should notify your bank or credit card issuer, and report the theft to the police.
If you can’t pay household bills, such as your phone or electricity bill, then you need to contact those companies which supply you these services. Do it as quickly as possible.
Remember – Utility and telecommunications service providers have hardship arrangements, especially to help those in financial difficulty. You should always ask your service providers if they’re able to provide you with assistance, and importantly, never agree to pay something you know you can’t afford.
You may also want to contact a financial counsellor for free independent and confidential advice and assistance about available options. For more information about financial counselling services, you can read more click here.
If you have a dispute with your telephone or internet provider and it is not adequately resolved by the company directly you may wish to speak to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on 1800 062 058. Their website is available at www.tio.com.au
Each State and Territory has an ombudsman to assist with energy and water disputes:
See the problem gambling website at www.problemgambling.gov.au or call the National Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858 (available 24 hours a day).
Centrelink may be able to provide you with income support even if you do not receive a Centrelink payment. A list of Centrelink contact numbers is available here.
Sometimes financial problems can seem overwhelming and it is important to have support during these
times. Talking to someone about your situation can help alleviate some of the stress. If you don’t
feel comfortable speaking to a loved one there are many people and services that could help you:
- Doctor or healthcare professional such as a psychologist or counsellor
- Community or charity organisation
- Local church or spiritual leader
- Financial counsellor
- Legal aid officer
- … and so on.
If you’d like to speak to someone but are not sure who to call, the Lifeline website provides a
service finder for services on a range of topics including: gambling, drug and alcohol issues,
psychologists, counsellors, legal aid, financial counselling, GP medical centres etc.
Click here to be redirected to this
You may require some additional emotional and psychological support during these times.
You can speak to your GP about getting a referral to speak to a psychologist, counsellor or psychiatrist.
However, there are also other services available.
Lifeline provides confidential counselling and crisis support, including suicide. Call Lifeline on 13 11
14 (available 24 hours a day) or go to www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help
beyondblue provides help with depression or anxiety. Call 1300 22 4636 (available 24 hours) or click here. Webchat is available from 4pm-10pm.
beyondblue also has a national
listing of health practitioners for the treatment of depression and anxiety available here.
There are financial counselling services available in every State and Territory that provide a free,
independent and confidential service.
A financial counsellor can help you get a clear picture of your financial situation and develop
strategies to get you back in control of your money – whether it’s creating effective personal
budgets, helping you organise your financial information, suggesting ways to improve your financial
situation, working out manageable repayment plans, negotiating with your creditors, seeing if you’re
eligible for government assistance, explaining debt recovery procedures, bankruptcy and other alternatives,
or addressing a financial crisis caused by a problem with health, unemployment, family break-up or
The Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) website contains a service locator for organisations in each
State or Territory that provides financial counselling. The service locator is available here.
For more information, go to the Financial Counselling Australia
website or freecall 1800 007 007 (available 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Please note you
will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state.)
Sometimes money and debt problems can develop into legal problems.
There are many services that can provide you with:
- free legal information
- give you advice about documents, processes and options
- help you negotiate with your creditors
- help organise an accredited interpreter for people from non- English speaking backgrounds, and
- try and help you resolve your legal problems without having to go to court.
There are legal aid services available in every State and Territory that provide a free, independent and confidential service.The National Legal Aid website contains a legal aid service locator for organisations in each
State or Territory. For more information, go to www.nationallegalaid.org or phone (03) 6236 3813.
Community legal centres
The National Association of Community Legal Centres (NACLC) provides details of community legal centres across Australia. For more information, go to www.naclc.org.au or phone 02 9264
Credit and debt advice services
Charities may provide counselling (including financial counselling) and emergency relief.
A list of Australian charities is available here.