Safety Tips: Protect yourself from Identity Theft
March 18, 2021
March is Fraud Prevention Month. A crime prevention initiative aimed at educating and informing consumers and communities on how to recognize, report, and stop fraud. Identity theft and fraud continue to rise every year. Together with local RCMP detachments, we create a strong awareness to spread the messages on how to better protect yourself from these types of crime.
Some examples of identity theft/fraud include phone or email scams with the goal to steal your identity, mail theft and security of documents. Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge or permission, and this is a crime. This includes someone using your name, social insurance number, credit card number or other identifying information.
Protect your information and be vigilant
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing types of fraud, but there are ways you can protect yourself. Guard your personal information and minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Here are some tips to manage your personal information cautiously:
- If someone asks for information, especially identification, ask why they need it and what it is used for.
- Use a paper shredder. Shred anything with personal or financial information such as credit card receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, cheques, financial statements, and old income tax forms.
- Cut up expired or unused credit cards. The credit card may have expired, but it can still be used.
- Carry only the identification and credit cards you will need. For example, you rarely need to carry your birth certificate, SIN card or passport.
- If possible, lock your household mailbox. If not possible, have a trusted friend pick up your mail.
- Use complex passwords on financial accounts that are used online.
- Do not leave personal information lying around at home, office or in your vehicle.
- Verify that your employer ensures your personal information remains private.
- Make sure unused vehicle license plates are not available for anyone else to use. Return expired or unused Alberta plats to any registry agencies.
- Destroy old vehicle registration certificate.
Computers make our lives easier, but they also make it easier for someone to steal your personal information. Here are some tips to keep your online information safe:
- Use strong passwords
- Do not use automatic log ins
- Use a firewall program
- Add virus protection software and update it regularly.
- Do not open emails from strangers, it could contain a virus to hijack your computer.
- Make sure deleted information has been deleted from your computer hard drive before you sell, recycle, or dispose of your computer.
- Use a credit card with a low limit rather than a debit card for online purchases.
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