Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft
Financial fraud is the most common form of identity theft. Money is stolen through banking procedures, fraudulent credit card use, computers or other forms of telecommunication, social program misuse, tax refunds or mail fraud.
Personation is a form of identity theft whereby criminals take on someone else's identity in order to commit a crime, enter a country, obtain special permits, hide their own identity or commit acts of terrorism.
How Criminals Steal Identities
- "Tomb Stoning" is crime in which criminals gather information from grave markers — including names, names of parents, and dates of birth — and then use this information to create a new identity.
- Redirecting mail
- Credit card receipts
- Dumpster diving
- Mail theft
- Online databases
- Computer hacking
How to Protect Your Identity
- Only give out your personal details and information when absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.
- Destroy personal information — don’t just throw it out. You should cut up or shred old bills, statements and cards such as credit cards and ATM cards.
- Treat your personal details like you would treat cash — don’t leave them lying around for others to take.
How to Tell if You've Been a Victim of Identity Theft
- You learn from a creditor that they received an application with your name and address, but you didn’t apply for it.
- You receive mail or phone calls from a creditor saying your application has been approved or denied — again, for an account you didn’t apply for.
- You receive credit card statements or bills for an account you never applied for.
- You stop receiving credit card statements, or notice that not all of your mail has been delivered.
- You hear from a collection agency that they are collecting for a defaulted account in your name, but you never opened that account.