According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of getting and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. Read on to find out what type of information the criminals are looking for and how you may be able to reduce the risk of identity theft.
Before we begin, we would like to credit the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for most of the information provided in this blog post.
What kind of information are identity thieves looking for?
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Social Insurance Numbers
- Full address
- Mother’s maiden name
- Username and password for online services
- Driver’s licence number
- Personal identification numbers (PIN)
- Credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the signature panel)
- Bank account numbers
Tips to protect your personal information:
- Never give your PIN or password to anyone.
- At bank machines, always shield the keypad when entering your personal identification number (PIN).
- Choose a PIN or password that does not include your name, telephone number, date of birth, address or social insurance number.
- Beware of mail, phone and Internet promotions or fraudulent websites that ask for personal information.
- Keep your birth certificate, social insurance card and passport in a secure place.
- Shred, destroy or cut up sensitive information before throwing it out.
- Don’t send financial or other confidential information via email.
- If you don’t receive your statements, notify your financial institution and Canada Post.
- Request a copy of your credit report each year and ensure the information is correct.
- Review your financial statements promptly and report any errors or lost or stolen cards to your financial institution immediately.
How to report it:
If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information:
Step 1: Contact your local police force and file a report
Step 2: Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company
Step 3: Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports
Step 4: Always report identity theft and fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
To find out more about what stolen information could be used for as well as the difference between identify theft and identity fraud, please read this information from the RCMP.