Every week hundreds of people fall victim to identity theft.
Identity theft is the unauthorized collection and use of your personal information, usually for criminal purposes.
Your personal information can be used to open credit card and bank accounts, redirect mail, establish cell phone service, rent vehicles or accommodation.
If this happens, you could be left with the bills, charges, bad cheques, and taxes.
- Be careful about sharing personal information or letting it circulate freely. Only provide the bare minimum.
- When you are asked to provide personal information, ask how it will be used, why it is needed, who will be sharing it and how it will be safeguarded.
- Don’t give your credit card number on the telephone, by Email, or to a voice mailbox, unless you know the person on the other end or it was you that initiated the communication.
- Choose difficult passwords — not your mother’s maiden name. Memorize them, change them often. Don’t write them down and leave them in your wallet, or some equally obvious place.
- Be careful what you throw out. Burn or shred personal financial information, receipts, insurance forms, etc. Insist that businesses you deal with do the same.
Don’t be cajoled, intimidated or manipulated into providing personal information. If your gut tells you something is not right, listen to it. Your decision not to provide this information may save you thousands of dollars and hours of aggravation and grief.