Optus data breach: Can you replace drivers licences or passports caught up in the cyber attack?

The apparent release of 10,000 customer records by a person claiming to be the Optus hacker has left many affected wondering how to replace their identity documents.

If you’re trying to change your license number, passport or Medicare details in the wake of the breach, which impacted millions of Australians, here’s the latest state-by-state information.

Can you change your drivers license number after the Optus hack?

License numbers are designed to stay with the driver for life and most states and territories usually only change the number when there is the high risk of fraud.

New South Wales

Minister for Digital Government Victor Dominello confirmed Optus would “absolutely” foot the bill for customers to replace their NSW drivers licenses if they have been affected by the cyber attack.

Mr Dominello said Optus would contact customers in the coming days to advise whether or not they needed to apply for a replacement drivers license.

He said people in the state with a digital drivers license would have an interim card number issued instantly via the Service NSW app while a new plastic license card would be issued within 10 business days.

“The cost to replace your driver license is $29 and will be charged by Service NSW at the time of application – reimbursement advice will be issued by Optus to customers in the coming days,” he wrote.

Victoria

Victorians will get free license number replacements if impacted by the breach.

Victoria is providing support to drivers, and anyone involved in the breach can contact VicRoads to have their license record flagged.

“Any Victorian affected by the data breach can replace their license by contacting VicRoads through www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/optusbreach,” the Department of Transport spokesperson said.

“We will request Optus repays the cost of the new licenses to the Victorian Government.”

Further information on license replacements is expected shortly. In the interim, the VicRoads site says affected people should not use usual replacement license services.

queensland

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey posted to Twitter that new licenses with new numbers would be provided free of charge to Queenslanders impacted by the breach.

He said people would need to attend the Transport and Main Roads customer service center with a breach notice from Optus or an enforcement authority, as well as evidence of identity.

A Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesperson said the department had been assisting customers affected by the Optus breach.

South Australia

South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said the state would also be waiving the fee for those who needed to replace their license.

A spokesperson for the South Australian Department for Infrastructure and Transport said those affected by the Optus breach could get a new drivers license number at a Service SA Centre.

Western Australia

It’s not possible to change a Western Australian drivers license number, but the state’s Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said she was considering changing the rule.

“I’ve sought advice from the Department of Transport on the matter and it’s something I’m willing to consider,” she said.

You can read more here.

tasmania

Anyone in Tasmania who is affected can contact Services Tasmania about the breach.

They will be given a letter to take into a Services Tasmania branch and can then apply for a new license with a new number.

Regular fees will apply.

Northern Territory

People in the NT who need to replace their license will have fees waived, the Northern Territory government confirmed Wednesday,

The number of NT customers whose driver’s license data has been stolen is around 20,000, and all people impacted will be contacted by Optus, the state government said in a statement.

The number of customers from whom the combination of key identifying numbers were stolen is expected to be about 1 per cent (around 200 people).

This number will be confirmed within the next day.

Optus will advise NT customers from whom both numbers have been stolen and strongly encourage them to apply to have their license canceled and re-issued.

Australian Capital Territory

Those deemed most at risk of identity theft or fraud due to the Optus data breach will receive a new driver license card for free, the ACT government says.

Canberrans most at risk of identity theft or fraud due to the Optus data breach are those who signed up for an Optus account this month, according to local authorities.

From September 1, Canberrans who signed up for an Optus account needed to provide both their driver license number and card number, to verify their identity.

The ACT government says a replacement card is necessary for these individuals, and they will be prioritized to receive a new license.

The fee to replace a card is $42.60, which Optus has agreed to credit into affected customers’ accounts.

You can visit the Access Canberra Replace Driver License page for details on how to replace your driver license card.

What about new Medicare numbers?

It’s not clear what the plan is yet. The government is still working to find out how many Medicare numbers were exposed.

“We’ve only been looking at that over the last 24 hours,” Health Minister Mark Butler said on Tuesday.

“Because of the lateness of notification of this particular breach … we’ll have more to say about that as soon as we can.

“But we’re looking at that very closely right now. All the resources of government are going into protecting consumers in the face of this extraordinary breach of their personal data.”

A Medicare card being cut with scissors
The government could reissue millions of Medicare cards after the Optus hack.(ABC RN: Jeremy Story Carter)

If you’re concerned or you’ve been affected, you can replace your Medicare card.

The easiest way to do this is by using your Medicare online account myGov here.

If your Medicare or Centrelink account has been compromised, you can call Services Australia’s scams and identity theft help desk. They can help secure accounts if they’ve been compromised.

And passport numbers?

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has written to Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin asking for the company to cover the costs of new passports.

Senator Wong says there is no justification for Optus customers to bear the cost of getting a new passport.

While no-one will be able to travel in your name using leaked passport details, your passport number may still be used for identity theft.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was up to individuals if they wanted to cancel their passport or apply for a new one.

It said it would still be charging the same prices.

A passport ordinarily costs $193 to replace, while a new passport costs up to $308.

CyberCX said customers could ask Optus about potentially covering these costs, as there has been precedent for organizations paying for reissue of people’s passports if they’ve assessed the risk as being great enough.

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