Strathcona County Crime Watch Association -
"The Eyes and Ears of Your Community"
Identity Theft Prevention and Tips
Guard your private information
- Don't leave purses or wallets in your vehicle, even if they are hidden.
- Don't carry you S.I.N. card or Birth Certificate in your wallet or purse.
- Don't write down PIN numbers or passwords and carry them with you.
- Change your PIN numbers on a regular basis.
- Don't use obvious passwords like birthdates for your pin number.
- Shred all paper with sensitive information like credit card statements and receipts.
- Know what your bank balances should be and make periodic checks.
- Do not disclose information over the phone in response to "surveys" or telemarketing calls. Simply state that due to the increase in fraud committed over the phone that you will not do business or respond to requests over the phone.
- Store all important documents in a safe and secure place.
Secure Your Accounts
- Don't key bank or credit account numbers into a cell phone without encryption technology.
- Order a credit report a least once a year.
- Read all bills and account statements carefully, report irregularities.
- Don't leave printed receipts behind at bank machines.
- Use a separate credit card with a low limit for high risk activities like vacations and on-line ordering.
If you believe your identity has been compromised
- Identity Theft is a crime and you should let your local police know as soon as possible if you think you have been a victim you will need to file a police report.
- Take action immediately and keep a record of whom you've talked with and what was said.
- Keep copies of all correspondence.
- Cancel all credit and bank cards and contact the financial institutions and advise them you have been a victim of identity theft
- Call the major credit reporting agencies ( Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion of Canada Inc. at 1-866-525-0262). Both companies have procedures in place to deal with ID Theft and will put a warning on your file.
What is Identity Theft?
The fraudulent use of someone's identifying or personal information.
How Do Identity Thieves Commit Their Crimes?
In addition to traditional ways of gaining information such as stealing someone's purse or wallet thieves have been know to steal mail from curbside mailboxes, dig through garbage cans and dumpsters and to file change of address forms in a victim's name to redirect mail.
- Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Social Insurance Number
- Full Address
- Username and Passwords for Online Services
- Driver's License Number
- Personal Identification Numbers (P.I.N.)
- Credit Card Information (Numbers, Expiry Dates and the 3-Digit Security Code Printed on the Back of Each Card)
- Bank Account Numbers
- Passport Numbers
Tips for Preventing Identity Theft:
- Never give out your Social Insurance Number.
- When using an ATM or retail point of sale machine, make sure that no one is able to see you enter your P.I.N. number.
- Commit all of your passwords to memory. Do not write them down or carry them with you.
- Adopt a healthy skepticism attitude toward website, email, of phone deals or offers that sound "to good to be true"
- Be wary of unsolicited email, phone calls or mail asking for personal or financial information from you.
- Go through your wallet and remove any identity documents that you do not need and store them in a secure place instead.
- Get in the habit of periodically checking your credit reports, credit card and bank statements and report any irregularities to the proper financial institution immediately.
- Where possible, swipe your own card for purchases instead of allowing the cashier to do it for you. If you must pass the cashier your card never lose sight of it.
- Familiarize yourself with mailing cycles for you credit card and bank statements, as well as your monthly billing statements.
- Make sure you shred all personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage.
- Be sure to notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions of an address change.
What to do if You Suspect You are the Victim of Identity Theft?
- Contact your local police department and file a report.
- Contact your bank, credit card company and all other relevant financial institutions.
- Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit report.