Recognition

Signs your identity may be at risk: 

  • Mail is missing.
  • Bills or credit card and bank statements do not appear at the regular intervals.
  • Charges you did not make appear on your credit card.
  • You receive bills for credit cards you did not apply for.
  • You receive calls about debts you did not incur.
  • Your credit report includes accounts you have not opened or debts you did not incur.
  • You are refused credit for reasons you don’t understand, given your income and credit rating.
  • You are arrested for a crime you did not commit.

Prevention 

Avoiding identity theft for consumers: 

Guard your documents: 

  • Recognize key identity documents to protect: driver’s license, birth certificate, SIN card, passport, certificate of Canadian citizenship, permanent resident card.
  • Do not carry these documents on your person or leave in your car unless needed that day, especially your SIN card, passport and birth certificate.
  • Keep your SIN card, passport and birth certificate in a secure place, preferably locked up. 

Guard your finances:

  • Cover your PIN.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you carry.
  • Know your billing cycles. If a bill does not show up, contact the company.
  • Shred or tear all documents containing financial information and account numbers: including pre-approved credit card applications, insurance forms, bank statements, and receipts.
  • Secure your mailbox: lock it or ensure you remove your mail promptly after it has been delivered.      
  • Create passwords for your credit cards and bank accounts that are not pet names, mother’s maiden name, children’s names, or part of your SIN or phone number.
  • Do not throw out ATM or shopping receipts in nearby trash cans. Shred or tear them up and throw them away at home.
  • Only shop online with reputed companies that have credit information protection software in place.
  • After every online banking or shopping transaction, delete your “cookies.” This process can be found in the “security” section of most shopping or bank  websites.
  • When you give out credit card or personal information online, check for https:// in the URL, or a closed lock or key in the bottom right of the window, to ensure that the website is secure.
  • Do not give out financial information over the phone or by email unless you have initiated the contact or have verified the validity of the sender by reinitiating contact with the appropriate phone number or email address from the phone book or legitimate company website.
  • Never give out financial information on a cellular phone, as it is easy for criminals to intercept this information.[9] 

Guard your information:

  • Avoid giving out personal information; often, it is not required by those who  ask it of you.
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone or by email unless you have initiated the contact or have verified the validity of the sender by reinitiating contact with the appropriate phone number or email address from the phone book or legitimate company website.
  • Never give out personal information on a cellular phone, as it is easy for criminals to intercept this information.[10]
  • Install firewall, anti-virus, and spyware programs on your computer.
  • Set up an email filter for junk email.
  • Do not open junk mail, just delete it.
  • Do not write your passwords down.

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