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Identity Theft

Identity Theft: Could it Happen to You?

Thu, 1st October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on Identity Theft: Could it Happen to You?

Maybe you never opened that account, or ordered an additional card, but someone else did…. someone who used your name and personal information to commit fraud. When an impostor co-opts your name, your Social Insurance Number (SIN), your credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their use – in short, when someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge – it’s a crime, pure and simple.

Are you a Victim?

The signs can be many, but typical indicators that your identity is being used include:

  • A creditor informs you that an application for credit was received with your name and address, which you did not apply for.
  • Telephone calls or letters state that you have been approved or denied by a creditor that you never applied to.
  • You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name, which you did not apply for.
  • You no longer receive credit card statements or you notice that not all of your mail is delivered.
  • A collection agency informs you they are collecting for a defaulted account established with your identity and you never opened the account.

Identity Theft: Tips that will help minimize your risk.

  1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and if it will be shared.
  2. Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time.
  3. Guard your mail. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery. Ensure mail is forwarded or re-routed if you move or change your mailing address.
  4. Utilize passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SIN or your phone number.
  5. Minimize the identification information and number of cards you carry.
  6. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know whom you’re dealing with.
  7. Keep items with personal information in a safe place. An identity thief will pick through your garbage or recycling bins. Be sure to tear or shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements and credit offers you get in the mail.
  8. Give your SIN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  9. Don’t carry your SIN card; leave it in a secure place.

The above article consists of excerpts from web pages available on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call centre website, Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Competition Bureau of Canada, Ontario Provincial Police and the Government of Canada. For more information about Identity Theft and how to protect yourself, visit www.phonebusters.com.

Category : Identity Theft

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