Identity theft is serious. It occurs when someone steals your personal information to commit a crime. There are ways to minimize the risk of having your identity stolen.
Signs of ID Theft
- Unknown/unidentified purchases appear on your monthly bills
- Bills arrive for accounts you don't own
- Collection agency calls about unknown debt
- Credit card/bank statements don't arrive
- Your credit report shows mystery debts
What to Do
- Call financial institutions and local police
- Put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion at 1-877-525-3823.
- To replace your ID cards like health, driver's licence, SIN, call 1-800-0-CANADA
- Contact Canada Post if your mail is missing
- Keep records of steps taken to clear your name and re-establish your credt
- Help stop fraud - contact PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501 or phonebusters.com
Guard Your Personal Information
- Never give personal information by phone, internet or mail unless you initiate the contact
- Be careful about sharing personal information and don't give out more than you need to
- Shield your PIN and never lend cards
- Report missing credit and debit cards
- Carry only the ID you need
- Put other ID documents in a safe place (birth certificate, SIN card, Passport)
- Shred document with personal information
- Do not carry your SIN card - it is only for employment and tax reporting
- Ask about the security of your information at work, with businesses and charities
Guard Your Computer and its Information
- Select a complex password of letters, numbers and symbols
- Install firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and security software and update these often
- Don't try, don't buy and don't reply to spam or emails that ask for banking information
- For online transactions, look for https://, a closed lock or an unbroken key icon
- When disposing of hard drives, use overwrite software or destroy the drive.
For more information on identity theft visit www.consumerinformation.ca.