Identity Theft

Identity theft has become an increasingly popular crime in Canada as a result of recent advances in technology. Identity theft involves stealing or hijacking the identity of another person - or in some cases of a business - and provides an effective means to commit other crimes.

Vital information such as name, address, date of birth, social insurance number, and mother's maiden name need to be acquired in order to complete the impersonation. The identity thief can take over the victim's financial accounts, open new bank accounts, transfer bank balances, apply for loans, credit cards and other services, purchase vehicles, take vacations and so on.


Tips to reduce identity theft:

Always shred documents which contain any personal information - Never leave receipts at bank machines, in trash cans or anywhere else. Destroy all paper work you no longer need.

Sign all credit cards when you receive them. You can also indicate on the back PHOTO ID REQUIRED.

Never loan your credit cards to anyone.

Cancel credit cards you do not use regularly and keep a list of the ones you do use.

Photo copy the contents of your wallet - Do both sides of each license, credit card etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place.

Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards and any discrepancies in your monthly statements to the issuing credit card company.

Never provide personal information such as Social Insurance Number, date of birth, credit card numbers or PIN over the telephone unless you initiate the call.

Promptly remove mail from your 'secure' mailbox after delivery and do not leave pieces of mail lying around your residence or work site.

Shred or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit card applications, credit card receipts, bills and related information when no longer needed.

Avoid keeping a written record of your bank PIN number, social insurance number and computer passwords, and never keep this informaiton in your wallet or purse.

Avoid mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions or surveys offering instant prizes or awards designed for the purpose of obtaining your personal details including credit card numbers.

If your purse/wallet is lost or stolen:

1. Cancel all cards immediately.

2. File a police report in the jurisdiction where your purse/wallet was lost or stolen. This will show the credit card providers that you were diligent.

3. Call the national credit reporting organizations immediately. It is important to place a fraud alert on your name and SIN number. This alert will flag your information to any company who checks your credit, advising them your information was lost or stolen. They have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
1. Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166

2. Trans Union of Canada 1-866-525-0262

3. Human Resources Development Canada 1-800-206-7218 (Select Option #3)

For information on the latest top ten scams please visit the Better Business Bureau Web site