How can I reduce the possibility of becoming a victim of identity theft?
You can limit the potential for fraud by remembering a few key tips:
1. When using your credit cards:
Carry only the identification and credit cards you need when traveling, whether locally or abroad. Do not carry your cards in your chequebook
If your chequebook is lost or stolen, call your bank and inform them of the cheque numbers missing
Sign your credit cards in permanent ink as soon as you receive them
When making a purchase, keep your cards in view at all times; ensure you take your card back as soon as a transaction swipe has been completed with your card
Do not sign a blank charge slip
Always save your receipts, never leave them behind
Avoid saying your account number aloud so that others can hear
Only provide your ID and credit card information over the phone to reputable companies when you have initiated the call
If you receive a call from someone claiming to represent your credit card issuer and the caller asks for your account number, do not provide it - if the caller is employed by the issuer, they will already know your account information
2. Manage your credit and debit card statements:
Check your statements as soon as they arrive to ensure all charges gathered are correct.
Keep statements in a safe place - they contain sensitive and personal information.
Check your Equifax Credit Report on a regular basis to determine if there are any changes.
3. Be prepared in the event your credit or bank cards, Driver's license or Social Insurance Card are lost or stolen:
Keep a list of the names, account numbers and expiration dates of all your cards in safe place (separate from your cards) to be used when alerting credit grantors about a lost or stolen card
Call all of your credit grantors immediately upon discovering your cards are missing. Most have 24-hour service numbers for this purpose. If you re-open the account, ensure they have your correct personal information.
If your Social Insurance Card is lost or stolen, contact your employer or your local Human Resources Development (HRDC) office immediately
If your Driver's License is lost or stolen, contact your local driver and vehicle license issuing office and report it to your local police station
Additionally, please call Equifax toll-free at 1-800-465-7166 or 514-493-2314. We will add a statement to your file to alert credit grantors that you may be a victim of fraudulent activity. This may mean that the next time you apply for credit you will be questioned more thoroughly as a precautionary measure. The credit grantor wants to make sure that you are, in fact, the person you say you are.