Did you know…

According to a 2008 survey:

  • 1 in 6 Canadians have been victims of Identity Theft.
  • 6.5% of Canadian adults, or almost 1.7 million people were victims of identity fraud in 2007 alone.
  • The victims spent over 20 million hours and more than $150 million to resolve problems associated with these frauds.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity Theft refers to all types of crime in which someone steals or misuses personal or financial identifiers of someone else by using their credit card, driver’s licence, social insurance number or other personal identification numbers to commit fraud or other criminal activity.

In the words of Frank Abagnale, the fraudster depicted in the film Catch Me If You Can, “I have never seen a crime as simplistic as stealing one’s identification. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.” Throughout his career of identity theft, Mr. Abagnale posed as an airline pilot, an attorney, a college professor, and a paediatrician. Mr. Abagnale is now a secure document consultant working with government agencies, law enforcement, and corporations.

What kind of information do identity thieves target?

  • Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Insurance Number
  • Driver’s Licence Number
  • Mother’s Maiden Name
  • Bank Account Numbers
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • PIN Numbers
  • Passwords

How does Identity Theft occur?

  • Shoulder Surfing– Thieves may look over a person’s shoulder when they enter their PIN Number at an ATM or during an Interac transaction.
  • Skimming – Thieves can use an electronic device known as a “skimmer” that copies information directly from the magnetic strip on a credit card.
  • Dumpster Diving – Thieves may rifle through a person’s garbage looking for personal information.  Anything thrown in the garbage can end up in the wrong hands.
  • Postal Theft– Credit card bills, tax statements, pre-approved credit card applications, etc. can be stolen directly from a person’s mailbox to obtain personal information.
  • Phishing –   This includes the use of email messages, Web pages and pop-up messages that are replicas of existing, legitimate websites and businesses. These are used to trick users into submitting personal, financial, or password data. These emails often ask for information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, social insurance numbers, and passwords that will be used to commit fraud.

Five ways you can protect yourself:

  1. Shred all your personal documents including things such as pre-approved credit card applications, bank statements, and credit card receipts in a cross-cut shredder.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and protect your PIN Number at ATMs and during Interac transactions.
  3. Carefully review your monthly credit card and bank statements. Report improper entries as soon as possible.
  4. Do not carry your Social Insurance Number, your passport, or your birth certificate with you unless absolutely necessary.
  5. Obtain and review your credit report annually. Report any incorrect information immediately.

To find out how to further protect yourself against Identity Theft contact Rogers Insurance Group Services, one of the PEO Partners, at 403-296-2700 or toll free at 1-866-335-7325.