Preventing Identity Theft
Tips to Prevent Identity Theft
Identity Theft occurs when a person steals a piece, or pieces, of a person’s identity, usually to commit fraudulent activity. They may use your personal information to apply for a credit card or open a bank account, to sign on for cellular service, rent products, or even apply for a mortgage. In many cases you will be left to clean up the mess when fraudulent activity occurs. This could cost you hours of your time and thousand of dollars. Some basic precautions can help you prevent having your identity stolen:
- Burn or use a crosscut shredder to effectively destroy all bank statements, credit card offers, credit card receipts, and any other documents containing personal information.
- Ensure no one can view you entering your PIN at ATMs, when paying with Interact, or when using a calling card.
- Always take credit card receipts with you and never dispose of them in a public location.
- Always question those who ask for your personal information to ensure it is necessary.
- Many companies will use SIN numbers to identify customers. Be cautious giving away your SIN number. If you are uncomfortable, ask them to assign you a false SIN number if a number is necessary for tracking purposes.
- If you are anticipating mail such as credit card statements, bank statements, or a new credit card, notify the sender if you do not receive the information within the time you expected to receive it.
- Do not carry extra information in your wallet. Your SIN card and credit cards you do not regularly use should be removed and stored in a safe location.
Never give out your information to someone you do not know over the phone or through email.
- Find out if your credit card provider offers protection from credit card fraud so you can avoid paying debts incurred by the fraudulent party.
Monitor your bank and credit card statements for any unusual activity that may be a result of identity theft.
- Order your credit report at least once a year to check for unusual activity.