Canada's two largest credit bureaus receive approximately 1,600 identify theft complatins every month. Identify theft is when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud or other crimes. Since resolving identity theft can take a lot of time and be very expensive, prevention is the best strategy:
- Shred financial documents before discarding
- Don't carry your social insurance card in your wallet or write the number on a cheque
- Don't give out your personal information by phone, mail, or Internet unless you know the recipient
- Never clik on links in unsolicited emails. Just in case they leard to a fraudulent site, always type in the correct web address
- Don't use obvious passwords (your birth date, mother's maiden name, last four digits of your social insurance number, etc.) and don't carry them with you
- Keep personal information in a secure place at home
- Inspect your credit report at least once a year and report any discrepancies
- Be alert for bills that don't arrive on time, new credit cards (or statements) that arrive unexpectedly, and denials of credit for no apparent reason. Make inquiries and follow them up.
If you're a vistim of identity theft, report it to the police immediately.