Identity theft is a severe threat. Not only do you run the risk of losing substantial amounts of money, but restoring your credit, your reputation can require months of eﬀorts.
As eloquently stated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, identity theft (“ID theft ”) doesn’t just happen in the movies. Consisting in acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal use, ID theft is far more prevalent in Canada today than it was years ago.
The reason is simple. Technology. As much as we all love it and its revolving existence, it comes with the tedious responsibility of remaining educated about its risks. In fact, during the ﬁrst six months of 2014 alone, more than 6,000 Canadians have been victimized, equating to over 22 million dollars of lost funds.
The most common misconception is that stealing your information requires sophisticated technology. Think again. Using easily accessible applications, your information can be retrieved with a smartphone within seconds.
There is no need to be paranoid, but there is reason to be prudent and aware of the risk. Canada has established an Anti-Fraud Centre available to the public to properly understand the problem and to learn about how to better protect your personal information.
If you suspect or know that you are a victim of ID 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 ID theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti - Fraud Centre.
Technology also oﬀers some solutions, For instance, Identity Block, a Montréal based company has even designed sleeves to protect your passport and payment cards against unwanted scanning.
With ID theft as with many other topics, a little information goes a long way.
For more information
RCMP • www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/id-theft -vol-eng.htm
Equifax Canada • www.consumer.equifax.ca/home/en_ca • 1 800 465-7166
TransUnion Canada • www.transunion.ca • 1 877 525-3823
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre • anti fraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca
Identity Block • identityblock.com