Last Updated: March, 2020
Every year, millions of dollars are stolen from Canadians due to identity theft.
Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal information for their own benefit. In most cases, this crime is committed to the goal of financial gain.
For example, criminals might use your credit card to make a purchase. Or, they could use your name to take out a loan. They might even attempt to steal your tax refund.
It’s not always strangers who are to blame for these underhand behaviours. Many cases of identity theft are committed by someone the victim knows. This could be a co-worker, a friend, or even a family member.
Identity theft can take place online, over the phone, or in person. To protect yourself from becoming a victim, there are a few things you can do. Be careful with sensitive information like social insurance, credit card, and PIN numbers.
Avoid sharing addresses or anything else criminals might use to steal your identity. When online, avoid using the same password for all your accounts. This will make them much harder to guess. If someone contacts you asking for personal information, only give it to them when you’re certain they are who they claim to be.
Scammers will pose as CRA agents, law enforcement, bank employees, or insurance personnel. They use this guise to convince you to provide them with sensitive information.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Identity theft is a serious problem that affects thousands of Canadians every year. If you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft, it’s important that you report it immediately. The sooner the problem is addressed, the faster further damages can be prevented.
To report identity theft in Canada, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501. Or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca