Ways Thieves Can Steal Your Identity
Here are 9 sneaky ways that thieves can steal your identity…
- Credit Card Theft
Each time you use your credit card it passes through numerous people’s hands providing many opportunities for it to be stolen.
Action: Don’t let your card out of your sight…EVER. If possible only use terminals that let you swipe your own card.
- Mail Theft
If your mailbox is not secure or you do not check it daily you are leaving yourself open to mail theft.
Action: Check your mail daily, lock your mailbox or open a postal box.
- Dumpster Diving
Any private information that goes into the waste not shredded is at risk of being taken by thieves.
Action: Shred any sensitive documents before you recycle or dispose of them.
- Shoulder Surfing
Anytime you type in private information such as your PIN there is a chance that someone is watching and waiting for a chance to steal it.
Action: Cover your screen when entering data in a public setting.
This is when a thief installs a device that can read your credit card information or PIN, onto an existing credit card reader or ATM.
Action: Monitor your accounts carefully for unauthorized activity and avoid non-bank ATM’s
- Fraudulent Credit Reports
This occurs when an identity thief pretends to be someone such as a landlord or employer in order to access a copy of your credit report.
Action: If you think someone has accessed your credit report without your knowledge, contact the credit bureau
- Social Media Searches
If you don’t adjust the privacy settings on your social media accounts, anyone can easily access that information.
Action: Adjust privacy settings on all your social media sites so that it is not easily searchable
This is a scam where an identity thief uses email to pose as a legitimate organization and requests private information (bank accounts, credit cards etc.)
Action: Trust your instincts…if an email or message requests too much private information, don’t click on the link.
The temptation of winning a trip or some other prize is used to get people to provide personal information. The identity thief tells people that they have won a contest, but need to verify their personal information in order to claim it.
Action: Verify your prize directly with the sponsor of the contest and check the web to see if it has been reported as a scam.
What To Do If Your Identity Is Stolen
The worst has happened…here’s what you need to do after your identity has been stolen
- Contact local Police
- Be sure to get them to issue a police report
- Get a copy of the report
- Review your credit report and search for
- Unauthorized charges
- New credit lines
- Contact TransUnion Canada & Equifax and place a fraud alert on your credit reports
- TransUnion Canada website: transunion.ca
- Equifax website: consumer.equifax.ca
- Contact the following and let them know your identity has been stolen
- Financial institutions
- Document EVERYTHING related to the incident
- Phone calls
Educate and Protect Yourself
The Government of Canada has a great website that offers information and links on how to protect yourself from different types of fraud and scams on everything from immigration and citizenship fraud, credit card fraud to real estate fraud. It is definitely worth checking out.