Identity Theft

image of worried young women looking at credit card and laptop

Protect your Identity from Criminals and Fraudsters:

Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary.
Make sure you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.  Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary.  NEVER give out your PAC or passwords.

Secure your passwords.
Ensure your passwords are complex and something that only you can remember.  It's also a good idea to use symbols, numbers, and a variety of upper and lowercase letters.

Destroy personal information; don’t just throw it out.
Never throw out anything that an identity thief could deem valuable.  Cut up or shred old bills, statements or cards (credit cards and debit cards).  Be sure to shred sensitive information: anything that contains account numbers, banking information, or social insurance numbers.

Monitor your accounts.
It's a good idea to review your credit union account statement at least once a month to check for fraudulent transactions.

Monitor your credit report.
This helps to ensure accuracy and to identify potential fraud. Criminals will apply for loans, mortgages, and credit cards using stolen personal information.

Don't share your SIN.
Keep your Social Insurance Number (SIN) stored in a safe place; don’t carry in your wallet or purse.

Be careful with the internet.
Cybercriminals target personal information in a different few ways, one of which is phishing. Phishing is when a cybercriminal defrauds you of sensitive information by posing as a legitimate company that you trust.  Never click a link in an email that’s asking for personal information.  Also, never handle sensitive transactions like logging into online banking when using public Wi-Fi.

What Happens When You receive a call from a  Financial Institution Asking Strange Questions To Verify Identity?

There might be a time when your financial institution or credit card provider may contact you to verify suspicious activity.  When this occurs, the company may ask about the last number of transactions that had been charged to your credit card.  Never provide or confirm personal  information to the individual who is calling from the Financial institution unless the call is expected.  A simple “yes those transactions are legitimate and are mine,” or “No those charges do not belong to me.”  At that point your provider will close the account and a new card will be issued.
If you are asked to verify your account number, date of birth or any other personal information, there is a good chance you are not being called from a legitimate financial institution and are experiencing attempted banking or identify fraud.  Never provide or confirm personal information of someone supposedly calling from a financial institution, unless the call was expected.  A simple verification of transactions by providing  a yes / no answer should be sufficient and your provider will issued another credit card.  A consumer shouldn’t confirm any information or offer any personal information over the phone.