With identity fraud crimes on the rise, police want to remind the public of the importance of taking steps to safeguard personal and financial information.
Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information to commit theft, fraud, or for other criminal purposes. Identity thieves steal this information without your knowledge and use personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, social insurance number to gain access to your bank accounts, make online purchases, or apply for new loans or credit cards.
“In most cases, victims have absolutely no idea they have become a victim until it is too late,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said.
Having your identity stolen can damage your credit rating, leave you responsible for any debt incurred, and be incredibly difficult to fix. The best way to combat identity theft is to prevent it from happening.
Recognize identity theft
• receive calls from collection agencies or creditors for an account you don’t have;
• receive notification from your bank, credit card or online business about a new account in your name, or added charges.
Prevent and protect
• change your passwords often and make them strong;
• avoid posting personal information online such as your date of birth and mailing address;
• verify the authenticity of any emails, text messages, or phone calls BEFORE disclosing any personal or financial information;
• shred or destroy any personal or financial documents;
• check your bank statements and credit reports routinely.
• immediately contact your bank and financial institutions;
• report the breach to credit bureaus and have alerts placed on your credit file; (Equifax 1-800-465-7166 Trans Union 1-877-525-3823)
• notify police;
• report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.