Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide. It happens when someone steals your personal information.
Criminals can obtain your personal information in a number of ways—by stealing your cards, posing as an employer or bank or utility company employee, grabbing information off websites that are not secure, or sorting through garbage.
Protect Your Personal Identity
Carry only bank or credit cards you need. Leave the others at home in a safe place.
Sign your cards immediately.
Don’t carry your social insurance number or birth certificate with you and don't give out the numbers unless absolutely required.
Check your receipts to make sure they belong to you and not someone else.
Don’t give personal information or account numbers to anyone until you have confirmed the identity of the person asking for it.
Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address to cover their tracks.
Guard your mail from theft. Promptly remove your mail from the mail box and ask Canada Post to hold your mail if you'll be away for some time.
Protect your computer with a good firewall and anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Use technologies that enhance security and privacy when using the Internet, such as digital signatures and data encryption.
Be wary of online offers from websites you don't know and trust.
Take immediate action if you suspect identity theft
Take Immediate Action If You Suspect Identity Theft
Call your financial institution immediately, if you think you have been a victim of identity theft or if you see unusual activity in any of your accounts.
Call the police and file a report. Ask for a copy of the police report.
Contact each credit grantor who has allowed a fraudulent account and tell them you did not open that account. Have them close the accounts.
Change your PIN immediately. If you open new accounts, make sure you put a new password on the accounts.
Contact Canada Post if someone is diverting your mail.
Document all the contacts you make (ATB, police, credit grantors, Canada Post), along with dates, names, and phone numbers.