Identity Theft

It can happen to anyone! Identity theft occurs when someone uses another person's personal information to obtain credit cards or loans or gain access to their savings. Below are a few tips on protecting yourself.

The Basics:

  • How does someone steal your identity? It's actually pretty simple. Identity thieves can use anything from your credit card to your SIN number, bank card, bank statement, pre-approved credit card application or health insurance card to access and exploit your personal financial information.
  • How do thieves get their hands on your identity? They could steal your wallet, look through your garbage (a.k.a. dumpster diving), place scanning devices on Automatic Teller Machines, go through your mail, intercept your e-mail or online transactions, or trick you into telling them what they need to know.
  • Protect yourself by keeping your information private. Don't tell anyone or write down your credit card numbers, bank account numbers, or passwords for banking and Internet.
  • You have a legal right to have your personal information protected. Those who require it for commercial transactions have a legal obligation to protect your information from misuse.
  • Before throwing away documents containing your personal information (e.g. credit card receipts, financial statements, old credit cards, tax forms, computer storage devices, etc.), destroy them (cut up, shred, erase).
  • Be aware of the typical scams used to cheat people, and don't reply to e-mails or phone messages that ask you for personal information.
  • Keep your Social Insurance Number to yourself. The only time you should reveal this information is when asked by the government or your employer, or when applying for credit.
  • Before sending your personal information (address, phone number, credit card number) over the Internet, always make sure that the site you're providing information to uses encryption to keep your data secure. There should be a padlock symbol in the bottom right corner of your Web browser.
  • Last, but not least, check your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you notice something unusual, call your financial institution immediately.

Helpful Web Sites: