Tips for Preventing Identity Theft
OTTAWA, March 14, 2012 /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 or recycle bin, via email, on the telephone, and more. Fraud-related offences are now thought to be as profitable as drug-related offences, estimated at between $10 and $30 billion annually in Canada by the RCMP's Commercial Crime Branch.
One of the fastest growing crimes in Canada is identity theft. 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.
Here are some tips to help protect your identity and your mail - digital or physical:
...Pick-up physical mail as soon as possible after delivery. Never leave it overnight in the mailbox.
...Do not discard mail with your personal information on it in the recycling box. Shred sensitive documents. If paperless, ensure you regularly empty your delete box.
...If you are planning a holiday, arrange for someone to pick up your mail or use Canada Post's Hold Mail service to ensure your mail is held safely while you're away.
...If you like to keep a copy of your electronic bills, sign up with epost and keep all your bills in one secure location with one username and password. Your bills can be stored for up to seven years. As well, epost users can store important personal information such as passwords, bank account information, medical history via the Vault service.
...Change your PIN information on your chip-enable credit cards regularly. Canada Post's PIN card services allow you to change the personal identification number (PIN) of chip credit cards from participating card issuers at more than 6,000 postal counters - for free.
...Beware if someone you are not expecting asks you for personal information. Identity thieves deploy various elaborate strategies to obtain this type of data.
...Remember, if you receive an offer that sounds too good to be true - it probably is!
...Report any suspicious activity to police.