Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in Canada today. This means that the risk of having your personal information stolen is increasing. Staying one step ahead will help minimize your credit risks. Here are 10 things you can do to protect yourself if you think you may be a victim of identity theft.
- Act fast
If someone has stolen your information, they’re likely to spend your money and apply for credit as fast as they can. That’s why it’s important for you to act fast and start the process of reclaiming your identity as soon as possible to stop them in their tracks.
- Review your bank and credit card statements
Check for charges and companies that you don’t recognize or don’t remember buying from. Contact your financial company immediately if you see something suspicious.
- Contact your bank and credit card company immediately
Call your bank and credit card issuer(s) as soon as possible. They can put a stop payment on stolen cheques and even freeze or cancel your accounts and credit cards. They also may be able to reverse any suspicious charges on your account.
- Change your passwords and PINs
Change as many passwords as you can for your online accounts – including your social media accounts. In addition, change the PIN on your debit card.
- Request a credit report
Contact Equifax and TransUnion Canada and ask them to put a fraud warning on your credit file. Get a copy of your credit report and check it for any new accounts or credit requests you didn’t set up.
- Contact local police
Report the fraud to your local police department and keep any paperwork/file numbers they give you. You may need to use the files as proof to have any credit card charges reversed or for your insurance coverage.
- Contact government agencies (see list below)
If cyber criminals do get your information, they could try to access and create legal documents in your name. Call Passport Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and your provincial government as soon as possible and ask them to put an alert on your account just in case.
- Contact Canada Post
If you’re not getting your mail, contact Canada Post at 1-866-607-6301. Someone may have changed your address on an account.
- Create a paper trail
Keep all your statements, emails and keep track of any communication you’ve had with potentially compromised companies. Record website addresses and take screenshots. This information can help you prove the fraud and will help law enforcement investigate the company.
- Report fraud to Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC)
The CAFC is an agency that collects information on fraud activity in Canada. They investigate all types of fraud and identity theft. They can help local police department and RCMP investigate the businesses or individuals targeting you and other Canadians, and hopefully stop them in their tracks
Some agencies you should contact
Here is a short list of Canadian agencies to notify if you’ve been targeted or if you feel that you might be a victim of identity theft.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Insurance coverage for identity theft
Through Munn Insurance, you can add an identity theft endorsement to your home, tenant, condo or property policy. The cost for this coverage is often just $2 to $3 per month. This coverage will help pay for the costs of reclaiming your identity if it’s been stolen. That includes the costs of applying for new ID cards, replacing your passport, closing a credit card/account and getting a credit report. Contact Munn Insurance today toll free at 1-855-726-8627 to find out more about this coverage.