Identity theft has become one of the fastest growing crimes in North America. There are a number of ways identity theft can happen:
- Card theft: theft of credit cards from wallets or purses or even newly issued cards from your mailbox.
- Shoulder surfing: looking over your shoulder for your Personal Identification Number and using a fake ATM device to read your debit card’s data.
- Skimming: using a special device to swipe your credit card at a restaurant or gas station which records the personal information from your card.
- Spoofing: creating fake websites or emails that ask for credit card information.
- Theft from databases: identity thieves stealing large databases of personal information.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself:
- Sign all credit cards when you receive them and never lend them to anyone.
- Cancel and destroy credit cards you do not use and keep a list of the ones you use regularly.
- Carefully check each of your monthly credit card statements and your bank statements. Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards and any discrepancies in your monthly statements to the issuing credit card company or bank.
- Shred or destroy paperwork you no longer need.
- Do not give personal information out over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you are the one who initiated the contact and know the person or organization with whom you are dealing.
If you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact your bank or credit card company, your local police and the OPP/RCMP Phonebusters Unit at 1-888-495-8501, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org