It takes mere seconds to become a victim.
ORILLIA, Ontario, March 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) believe greater awareness and improved security practices can help prevent consumers from becoming victims of identity theft.
Identity theft is the starting point for many types of crimes — credit and debit card fraud, mortgage fraud, and account takeovers among other things. Typical cases involving identity theft include situations where government documents — such as drivers' licenses, health cards, Social Insurance Number (S.I.N.) cards and birth certificates — have been forged or otherwise unlawfully obtained.
"Identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. No one is immune. But everyone can minimize their risk of becoming a victim through greater awareness." - Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations/Organized Crime Command.
The consequences of having your identity compromised can have a profound and long-lasting impact on your individual finances, credit ratings, as well as with your dealings with businesses, government and other agencies.
Knowledge is power. Consumers can take some basic steps to better protect themselves from becoming a victim, such as never giving out personal information over the phone or over the internet if you are not sure whom you are dealing with, or carrying only the identification documents you need.
"Criminals are technically able to use stolen personal information to obtain documents and support other crimes. Managing your information wisely and cautiously can help you guard against identity theft." - Detective Inspector Bernie Murphy, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.
The OPP Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau - Identity Crimes Unit also makes use of new, stronger legislative tools with which to charge criminals for possessing the personal information of others and prevent it from being used for fraud or theft.
FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.
OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month
The OPP Identity Crimes Unit has a number of tips and contacts to help you avoid becoming a victim of identity theft at this link.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) - Identity Theft
For a Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Identity Theft Victims' Guide, click here (PDF file)