Preventing Identity TheftIdentity theft is when someone uses your personal or credit card information without your knowledge or consent to open a credit card or bank account or obtain cash or goods.
To Avoid Becoming a Victim of Identify Theft
- Photocopy all the cards you carry in your purse or wallet (i.e., driver's license, credit cards, care card, etc.). In the event that your purse or wallet is stolen or lost, you have all the information you need to cancel and replace your cards and identification. Keep the photocopies in a secure location.
- Never post your phone number, address or SIN number on the Internet.
- Get to know your billing schedule. Late arrivals of statements and bills may indicate that your mail is being stolen. Contact the issuer of the statements to see if they are delayed. If you suspect your mail has been stolen, notify the police, call Canada Post and your bank and credit card companies to have them check your accounts and credit cards for any suspicious activity. Also call the Credit Bureaus (Trans Union at 1 877 525-3823 and Equifax at 1 800 465-7166) to report the theft.
- Shred your credit card, banking statements and anything with your personal information (anything with your signature, any account numbers, your social insurance number, medical or legal information) when you no longer need them.
- Your trash is an identity thief's treasure! Be careful what you throw out. The information you put in your garbage and recycling bin may be vulnerable. You have no "Expectation of Privacy" once your trash is at the curb.
- Never disclose your PIN (Personal Identification Number) to anyone.
- Keep an up-to-date inventory of your ID. If you lose or have your identification stolen, notify the issuer and file a police report.
- Do not carry unnecessary identification (passports, birth certificate or your Social Insurance card).
If You Are a Victim of Identify Theft
Immediately take some basic steps to prevent further crimes from happening and to restore your credit and good name. As you contact law enforcement, financial institutions and other agencies, keep track of the actions you have taken for future reference.
- Contact your local Police department and file a report of the theft of your identification information. In Richmond, BC, call 604 278-1212.
- Contact all your bank/financial institution(s) and credit card companies to make a report.
- Contact the two national credit bureaus and let them know you have been a victim of identity fraud:
- Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166
- TransUnion Canada 1-877-525-3823
- and request a fraud warning be placed on your credit file.
- Review your credit report and close any accounts you didn't open and dispute any new accounts you didn't request.