Australian ‘Amazing Rentals’ uploads thousands of personal documents online
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Australian ‘Amazing Rentals’ uploads thousands of personal documents online

Australian appliance-rental company, Amazing Rentals, are in trouble with Australian authorities yet again for behaviour that has prompted government discussions over the need to crack down on bad business behaviour.

Around mid-September this year, the Guardian reported that Amazing Rentals “published 26,000 personal documents involving 4,000 customers on the internet.” No further information was provided as to what the details included, but clear concerns were aired over identity theft and credit fraud.

The Australian Information Commissioner’s Office shut down Amazing Rental’s website shortly thereafter and warned the retailer’s customers to take precautions against identity theft and other forms of fraud.

A big breach after questionable behaviour

This isn’t the first recent issue that Amazing Rentals have been caught up in. They were recently found to have been apparently targeting Indigenous groups and vulnerable people in Australia who may have been unable to fully understand the terms and conditions they were agreeing to. Native Australians who often live in remote or rural areas don’t always speak a great deal of English. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission released a statement confirming that the retailer was found to have targeted people who received Government benefits as their only source of income and people who reportedly may have had difficulties understanding the contracts they were signing up to when leasing the appliances from Amazing Rentals.

In targeting vulnerable people who may not be the most ‘savvy’ when it comes to this sort of thing, the data breach has potentially put them at an even bigger risk of financial fraud and criminal attacks. The Australian ICO is investigating the data breach and are looking to see if any of the compromised information has been misused.

In the meantime “all previous customers are encouraged to take proactive steps to protect their personal information and prevent ID theft” read a statement.

Victims to assume their details are compromised

The ICO’s deputy Commissioner, Angelene Falk, warns that anyone who is, or has been, a customer of the firm should assume their personal details were uploaded online. She urges people to alert their banks and apply for a credit report.

On the report, Angelene Falk explains:

“That’s a critical document that will help people to see whether somebody is trying to impersonate them and apply for credit in their name.”

However, with so many of its customers living in remote areas who may perhaps have limited access or exposure to the Internet and credit services, the message may not reach all of them or prompt the reaction desired.

Off the back of these two scandals, the Australian Government is eager to push reforms on protecting the vulnerable from ‘payday loan firms’ and rental companies like Amazing Rentals. Consumers should be afforded adequate protection from companies looking to take advantage of them.

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