Identity crime is one of the fastest growing forms of criminal activity in Canada at this time. Identity crime involves the unauthorized gathering, trading or use of another person’s personal information including credit card numbers, social insurance numbers and drivers licence numbers which are then used to facilitate other criminal activities.
In some cases the victim’s personal information is used to make fraudulent purchases on the victim’s credit card. In other cases the victim’s information is used to open bank accounts, purchase cell phones, and obtain loans and mortgages.
These crimes can damage a person’s credit rating and financial status and cause emotional suffering that is similar to victims of violent crimes. In some cases it may take years for the victims to recover their credit rating.
- Don’t leave your wallet or purse unattended or even in your locked vehicle.
- Shred all bills, bank statements and any other documents that contain identity information prior to placing them in the trash.
- Regularly check your bank account and utility statement for any unusual activity
- Review your credit report to ensure there is no suspicious activity
- Check your mailbox daily to prevent theft of mail
- Arrange to pick up new cards such as credit cards at your bank rather than having them mailed to your home address
- Don’t open any unknown emails or respond to unsolicited requests for personal information
If you have been a victim of identity theft see steps to help minimize the damage and prevent further identity theft and fraud: ID Stolen? Now What?
For more information on fraud and identity theft, see Online Anti-Fraud Resources.
The Economic/Technical Crime Unit is available for community presentations on fraud awareness and prevention – call 604.946.4411.