“One can never be too careful.”
These days, it seems that’s all we hear when it comes to identity theft. Identity theft in Canada is no different. In fact, each month about 1,800 cases of identity theft are reported in the country.
Identity theft can be carried out in a number of ways. Sometimes it’s stealing or copying a credit card. Other times, the crime is taken to extremes, and a person assumes another person’s entire identity, including his or her address, social security number, driver’s license, and more – and it’s no laughing matter. Identity theft can get very serious very quickly, with some thieves taking going so far as to try and sell property or embezzle money in another person’s name.
Photo Credit: B Rosen via Flickr, cc
Card Copies: What Do You Do?
This is where online banking comes in handy. If you notice any charges that you did not make, call the bank immediately and cancel the card because you may be victim of identity theft. Luckily, banks now track accounts carefully and may cancel or hold an account until they talk to you if they notice unusual activity, or if they catch wind of any illegal copies of your credit cards made. A new wallet also recently hit the market that protects the user from unauthorized readings of RFID cards, like building entry tags and some credit cards (which work on a non-contact basis). Purchasing one of these wallets is a good idea.
How to Prevent Identity Theft in Canada:
- Lock your mailbox and don’t let mail pile up.
- Be sure that anytime you enter your personal information on the internet, the website is secured. The same goes for phone calls. If you aren’t sure, don’t do it.
- Shred any papers or receipts with your address or other personal information on them instead of throwing them away. People do go through garbage.
- If you lose your license, social security card, passport, visa, or credit/debit card, call the appropriate source and report it immediately.
- Cover the screen when you use an ATM, and try only to use ATMs of known banks.
What To Do if You are a Victim of Identity Theft in Canada:
Call the police if you notice any unusual activity with your assets and personal information. Call banks and other institutions that are concerned, and know that if you act in a timely fashion, the damage done will most likely be minimal, and fixable.
Want to learn more about keeping yourself and your finances safe? Sign up for Settle-in.com and get full access to “The Guide.” Read the “Practical Information” and “Finances” chapters for more information on this topic.
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