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Identity Theft...It could happen to YOU!

identity Theft.jpgWhen an imposter steals your name, your Social Insurance Number (SIN), your credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their use, without your knowledge - IT'S A CRIME, PURE AND SIMPLE.

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.

How do I Know if MY IDENTITY has been Stolen?

Some of the signs your identity might  have been stolen:

  1. Bills and statements don't arrive when they are supposed to — they may have been stolen from the mailbox or someone has changed the mailing address.
  2. You receive calls from collection agencies or creditors for an account you don't have or that is up-to-date. Someone may have
    opened a new account in your name, or added charges to an account without your knowledge or permission.
  3. Financial account statements show withdrawals or transfers you didn't make.
  4. A creditor calls to say you've been approved or denied credit that you haven't applied for. Or, you get credit card statements for accounts you don't have. 
  5. You apply for credit and are turned down, for reasons that do not match your understanding of your financial position.

What to do:

  • Call your financial institutions and the police
  • Put a fraud alert on your credit report
  • Contact Canada Post if your mail is missing
  • Keep records of steps taken to clear your name and re-establish your credit
  • To replace ID cards like health, driver's licence, SIN call 1-800-O-Canada

Tips to reduce risk of Identity Theft:

  1. Before you reveal any personal 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. Put 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
    who you're dealing with. identity Theft 2.jpg
  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.
What you can do if you become a victim:

Report the incident to Police

Report a lost or stolen birth certificate toService Ontario by calling:
416-326-1234 in Toronto or toll free at 1-800-267-8097

Report incident or attempted incident to:
Phone Busters National Call Center at 1-888-495-8501 or www.phonebusters.com

For additional information, consumer protection advice is available at www.mgs.gov.on.ca

Resources:

OACP Crime Prevention Identity Theft

Internet Fraud Prevention

Identity theft

Service Canada