What is identity theft?
Identity theft or identity fraud is when someone steals:
- your name
- your personal information
- your financial information
- any other information that is specific to you as an individual
Why do people commit identity theft?
Someone committing identity theft might use your financial information to make purchases in your name. It can take months to realise that fraud is taking place. It may take even longer to recover what they have taken.
Organised crime networks are know to use identity fraud to fund larger scams. Identity theft has been linked to human trafficking, money-laundering, terrorism and drugs.
How can I avoid being a victim of identity theft?
Before giving out personal information ask yourself:
- Who is asking for my details?
- What details are they asking for?
- Why do they need to know these details?
- Have they verified who they say they are?
- Would the person they claim to be request that information?
- Have I shredded/destroyed any personal or financial information, including receipts?
- Know who you are dealing with...scammers often pretend to be someone you i.e. government officials, a family member, a bank, a charity etc.
- Resist pressure and talk to someone you trust before giving up money or personal information...scammers want you to make decisions in a hurry.
- Guard your personal information...be suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company you have an account with asks for information the business would already have.
- Be skeptical of free trial offers or promises of easy money.
- Be cautious of unsolicited emails as they are often fake...delete the email.
- Stay safe online...don’t send sensitive information by email.
- Never have your PIN number on the back of your ATM or Credit Card where someone can easily see it and attempt stealing it.
- Don’t send money to anyone that you aren’t certain of their identity.
- Say ‘No’ if someone pressures you for money…even family members.
- Advise your bank of any authorized users of your account.
- Choose a trusted family member or friend as a power of attorney.
- Never provide your credit card number, social insurance number, or banking information over the phone.
- Don’t let anyone rush you into signing…read documents carefully and have someone you trust check it over.
- Ask for photo identification from any service or delivery person that you aren’t familiar with.
- If you are suspicious about anyone, contact the police, Better Business Bureau or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
- Rental Fraud; Red Flags and Tips
- Is the price good too good to be true...check rental rates in the same area?
- Are they only communicating with you via emails...scammers don’t want to meet victims or be recognized.
- Are they asking for cash only or a cash only security deposit?
- Are they asking for the money to be wired? Have you actually seen the place and walked around with the owner or property manager?
- Are they asking for personal information such as your SIN number, bank account number, credit card number...this information is not required to rent a place.
- Confirm that they are in fact the owner or property manager.
- Ask the neighbors about the owner and history of the property.
- More Safety Tips here.
If you have any suspicions, don’t give out your details until you’ve checked everything out. If you suspect anyone is committing identity fraud please complete our anonymous online form. If you are a victim of identity fraud, it is best to contact the police directly.