Ten Easy Ways to Prevent Identity Theft

Here are a few simple things you can do to make life difficult for identity thieves:

(1) Don’t return hotel key cards when you check out of a hotel. Instead, destroy the card after you’ve left the area. Key cards store personal information anyone with a card reader can access.

(2) Buy and use a shredder to destroy any paperwork that bears your name. This includes junk mail with your name on it.

(3) Never put your purse in a shopping cart at a supermarket or beside your chair at a restaurant.

(4) Don’t disclose your Social Insurance Number to anyone unless it’s absolutely essential. If someone requests your SIN number or personal information unnecessarily, become suspicious of that person. Don’t carry your SIN number or unnecessary ID cards around with you.

(5) Study all bills and statements carefully and refrain from using your credit card for petty purchases or in cases where you are uncomfortable with the vendor. In cash we trust.

(6) Don’t sign the back of credit cards. Instead print “PHOTO ID REQUIRED” in that space.

(7) Make a photocopy of both sides of every ID card you have in your wallet or purse and store the copy in a safe place. That will make it a lot easier to cancel the cards in case of loss or theft.

(8) Report stolen credit cards to the local police asap and ask for a written confirmation.

(9) Report the theft of your credit cards and/or personal information to Canada’s two leading credit reporting agencies: Equifax (tel. 1-877-323-2598) and Trans Union (tel. 1-800-663-9980). That way companies which do a credit check on you will see at a glance that you may have been a victim of identity theft and will follow up before granting credit.

(10) Request a free copy of your current personal credit status by filling in these forms:

http://www.equifax.com/ecm/canada/EFXCreditReportRequestForm.pdf

http://www.transunion.ca/docs/personal/Consumer_Disclosure_Request_Form_en.pdf

Any unauthorized activity should be obvious from the reports these companies will send you. And you may also find it interesting to learn just who has run a credit check on you!