Thursday, March 18, 2010

Identity Theft

Protect Your Information
Don't Become A Victim

The RCMP offers the following advice to protect your identity and keep yourself from becoming a victim to this growing crime.

Identity theft is someone wrongfully obtaining and using your personal identifying information to commit fraud or theft or for other purposes.


There are many ways someone can access your personal information:

 

1. Mail Box
Superboxes and apartment boxes are more of a target than individual mailboxes for mail theft. This may include redirection of mail as well as theft of mail.
Prevention:

  • Be vigilant and report suspicious activities around mailboxes.

  • Pay attention if you do not receive mail that you had expected.

  • Don’t let mail build up in your mailbox.
2. Intercepting Garbage

Prevention:


  • Shred all documents containing personal information before discarding.

  • Businesses should be especially careful to guard their client’s information.
3. Theft of Wallets and Purses

Your identification is often more valuable than the cash.
Prevention:

  • Do not carry unnecessary identification (passports, birth certificate, Social Insurance card).

  • Report stolen credit and bank cards.
4. Computers
11.6% of identity theft was through computers
- 2005 Identity Fraud Survey Report
Prevention:

  • Share personal information on trusted and secure web sites only (secure sites begin “https:”).

  • Practice safe computing - Do not open suspicious e-mail. Use anti-virus software to filter e-mail.

  • “Wipe” your computer hard drives if you sell ordispose of an old computer.

  • Use a firewall or Internet Security Software to prevent hackers from accessing your data.
5. ATM Fraud
Tampering with automated teller machines (ATMs) and point of sale terminals enables thieves to read your debit or credit card number and personal identification number (PIN).
Prevention:

  • Use familiar ATMs.

  • ATMs with security cameras (including machines located inside businesses and in business-hours branches) are less likely to attract criminals; seek out these machines when possible.

  • Be suspicious if your card is "eaten" by the machine and someone approaches you to say the same thing happened to them, then advises you to enter your PIN again.

  • Limit your after-hours ATM use.

  • Watch for "shoulder surfers" who watch you enter your PIN

  • Keep a watchful eye on your monthly statement, as well as your balance, and report any problems to your bank. - Tom Harper, publisher of ATMmarketplace.com


What is done with your personal information?

  • Charge purchases or withdrawing funds from your accounts.

  • Establish new accounts in your name (and not paying the bills).

  • Change mailing addresses so you will not notice their activity.

  • Rent a premises for a marihuana grow op.

  • Apply for a mortgage for a marihuana grow op.

  • Access government social programs (EI, pension, social assistance).

  • Use false identification to avoid prosecution, access government services in your name or allow unwanted visitors to enter the country.
How will you know if your identity has been stolen?

  • You learn of a credit application that you did not make.

  • Regular statements do not appear in the mail.

  • A payment is charged to you that you did not authorize.

  • A collection agency informs you that you have defaulted on a payment you did not make.
What can you do if you think you are a victim?

  • Notify your bank or credit card company IMMEDIATELY.

  • Contact Equifax 1-800-465-7166 and Trans Union (877) 525-3823 and request a “fraud alert” be placed on your credit record.

  • Go to www.phonebusters.com and complete the “Identity Theft Statement”.

  • Contact your local police.

  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre - formerly Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501.

  • Record the dates and times of what you do and whom you speak with.


Quick Tips to prevent identity theft:
  • Never throw away bank records or other documents in a readable form.
  • Never give your credit card number over the telephone unless you make the call.
  • Never give your PIN number to anyone.
  • Reconcile your bank account often and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately. Watch your account activity online.
  • Be cautious about sharing your personal information.


allvoices

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment will appear after moderation before publishing,

Thank you for your comments.Any comment that could be considered slanderous or includes unacceptable language will be removed.

Thank you for participating and making your opinions known.