OTTAWA, March 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - March is Fraud Prevention Month and Canada Post wants to remind customers that fraud, identity theft and other types of scams can happen anywhere - in your mailbox, via email, on the telephone, discarded documents and more.
One of the fastest growing crimes in Canada is identity theft and it occurs when someone steals your name and other personal information with the intention of assuming your identity to gain access to your finances, make purchases and incur debts in your name, or commit other crimes. In addition to names, addresses and phone numbers, thieves steal social insurance numbers, driver's license numbers, credit card and banking information, bank cards, calling cards, birth certificates and passports. Once this information is stolen, it can be used to finance spending sprees and open new bank accounts, or to redirect your mail and apply for loans, credit cards and social benefits. This kind of criminal activity can ruin an individual's financial credibility which can take a significant amount of time to re-establish.
Common techniques used to obtain personal information fraudulently include:
...Stealing mail, such as bank and credit card statements, credit card offers, and new cheque and tax information, before delivery.
...Stealing delivered mail by breaking into apartment, community and residential mailboxes.
...Completing a fraudulent change of address form to redirect your mail to another location.
...Searching through personal or business trash, or the public trash dumps.
...Breaking into mailboxes, delivery boxes and other Canada Post property to steal incoming or outgoing mail.
Here are some tips to help protect your identity and your mail:
...Pick-up mail as soon as possible after delivery.
...Deposit your mail as close to scheduled pick up time as possible. Do not leave mail overnight in the mailbox.
...Do not discard mail with your personal information on it in the recycling box.
...If you are planning a holiday, arrange for someone to pick up your mail or use Canada Post's hold mail service.
...Do not leave mail in unprotected areas. If the mail has been delivered incorrectly, please write, "delivered to wrong address" on the front of the envelope. If addressed to someone not living at your address, write "not at this address." In either case, deposit the mail into a red street letter box or the outgoing mail slot of your community mailbox at your earliest convenience.
...Shred all personal information. Businesses in particular need to make sure receipts and customer information are shredded before disposing of them in a dumpster.
Canada Post operates PosteCS to support the transmission of confidential and sensitive information in a timely digital environment. For more information go to www.canadapost.ca.
Report any suspicious activity to our customer service number 1 800 267-1177.
Canada Post has a team of postal inspectors - the first investigative body established in Canada in 1772. The team helps protect mail by advising on security requirements, investigating reported incidents of mail theft, damage to Canada Post property, fraud, threats to employees, corporate policy violations and mail-related criminal offences - including those which are tied to Identity Theft/Fraud.
Please visit our Postal Security center for more information.