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How to Protect Against Identity Theft

on Dec 02, 2013

Identity TheftIdentity theft is an increasingly popular method that crooks use to extract your personal or financial information (sometimes both) which they then use or reproduce for fraudulent means. In the worst case scenarios, this can result in a criminal opening financial accounts in your name and taking on debt, or even assuming your identity in another province, complete with a legitimate (but in your name) driver’s licence.

They can get this information by stealing your wallet, going through your trash or using computer fraud to collect your credit card or banking information.

Identity theft can be difficult to guard yourself against, since your personal information is so widely distributed in this modern age of Internet commerce and communications.

However, if you remember to follow these tips then you can hopefully avoid ever going through identity theft, or minimize its impact if it does ever happen to you.

  • Be mindful of how you dispose of bank statements, credit card statements and other financial receipts. Simply put, never simply throw these in the trash or recycling in their original, unblemished form. If you do that, dumpster diving crooks can find them and read your personal financial information. Instead, make sure to cut them up (several times) or use a personal shredder to ruin a thief’s chances of getting the information on them
  • Never give someone your credit card number over the phone, unless it was you who originally made the call
  • Carefully review your bank account and credit card statements each month. Pore through them with an eye for any discrepancies and transactions that you did not make. If you do spot one, call your bank immediately
  • Keep a standby list of phone numbers to call to report stolen identity and financial cards, such as driver’s licence, bank and credit cards, your health card and other ID documents in your wallet
  • Request a copy of your credit report once a year or more frequently. If you see anything questionable, contact the credit bureau and don’t get off the phone until they have provided you an answer
  • If you do find out someone has fraudulently assumed your identity, get the credit bureau to print a statement in your credit report confirming this. Getting the agency to confirm to you in writing that your identity has been stolen is an important step in proving to banking and other institutions that you have in fact been a victim of a crime

So be cautious with who you’re giving your personal and financial information to, and remember to dispose of this information the right way.