Identity Theft How To Protect Yourself And Your Credit
About 6,000 Canadians
Have Their Identity Stolen Each Year
Identity Theft can cost you everything you own
AND YOUR CREDIT REPORT
Don't Let Identity Thieves Ruin Your Credit.
Monitor your credit rating carefully
Monitoring your credit report for changes is one of the best ways to combat identity theft and ensure the accuracy of what's being reported about you.
Credit bureaus make it easy to monitor your credit report by automatically alerting you of certain key changes in your Credit Report such as when someone tries to open credit in your name so you can act before serious damage is done.
FRAUD ALERTS: If your identity is stolen;
Request that the credit bureau attach a fraud alert to your file. A fraud alert is a red flag on your credit report which will identify you as a potential fraud victim to credit granters.
Immediately contact both credit bureaus using the numbers listed below.
Ask to speak to a "Fraud Alert Specialist" The specialist will immediately attach the fraud alert and
review your credit file with you on the telephone.
You may also attach a short statement to your file -- Your statement may say something like, My identification has been stolen. Contact me directly at this number before extending any credit.
All the thieves need is your name, address, birth date and SIN to apply for credit cards or loans in your name, put a mortgage on your house or get any other documents with your name.
When this happens, your credit can be destroyed and it will take YEARS to repair it even though you did nothing wrong.
As always prevention is better than the cure.
If your house is burglarized or your wallet or purse is lost or stolen the vital ID documents could easily find their way into the hands of identity thieves.
Report the theft to the credit bureaus at once. They will put a warning watch on your file and any new credit enquiries or applications will be confirmed directly with you. It is not foolproof but it helps.
Notify the police, the financial institutions you deal with, and all creditors. Obtain a copy of your police report as this will help you show you are or may be a fraud victim.
Cancel all existing credit cards, accounts, passwords and PINs, and replace them with new ones.
Mail theft Thieves rummage through accessible mail boxes looking for utility bills, credit card or bank statements or any other mail which contains account numbers and similar information.
They also will go through your garbage so shred anything that has your name on it.
If you have a mail box hanging on the outside of your residence, replace it with a mail slot.
If the mail is delivered to common boxes, retrieve your mail promptly and do not ever throw unwanted mail in the trash containers in public areas. Shred it.
Leave your SIN card at home. You do not need it on a day to day basis and since you probably know your number you would never encounter a situation where you would require it on the spot.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft involves acquiring key pieces of someone's identifying information in order to impersonate them and commit various crimes in that person's name.
Besides basic information like name, address and telephone number, identity thieves look for social insurance numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card and/or bank account numbers, as well as bank cards, telephone calling cards, birth certificates or passports.
This information enables the identity thief to commit numerous forms of fraud:
to go on spending sprees under the victim's name,
to take over the victim's financial accounts,
open new accounts,
divert the victim's financial mail to the thief's address,
apply for loans, mortgages, credit cards,
establish services with utility companies, and more." Exact source unknown believed to be excerpted from an Ont Government bulletin.
USE A SHREDDER
Thieves retrieve your garbage looking for bills, statements and other useful information.
Shredders are very inexpensive.
Shred all the paper you throw out, not just your important documents. This mixes up the bits of shredded important documents with tons of useless shredded junk mail, old papers, and other garbage. That makes it more trouble than it is worth for identity thieves.
Soak your shredded documents in lots of water before you put out the trash. That dissolves the paper bits and makes them impossible to put back together.