Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada. It happens when someone uses your name, your date of birth, and other personal information without your knowledge or consent to commit a crime, such as fraud or theft.
Identity thieves are looking for the following information:
- Date of birth
- Social Insurance Number/Social Insurance Number Card
- Mother’s maiden name
- Driver’s license number
- Credit card information
- Bank card information
- Permanent resident card
Here are the suggestions made by Royal Canadian Mountain Police on protecting yourself from identity theft:
- Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.
- Ask yourself if you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don’t need and keep them in a secure place instead.
- Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.
- During transactions, it’s safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.
- Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.
- Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.
- Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.
- Trash bins are a goldmine for identity thieves. Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage.
- When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your bank and credit card companies).
Source: Identity Theft and Identity Fraud – Royal Canadian Mounted Police