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It’s tax season? make sure you take extra precautions with your mail
OTTAWA, February 6, 2008 – With tax deadlines fast-approaching and personal information going back and forth between accounting firms, financial institutions, the Canada Revenue Agency, homes and businesses, Canada Post and the Privacy Commissioner urge Canadians to ensure these very sensitive documents are kept secure at all times.
While this material is essential for preparing tax-related reports, it can also be used by fraudsters seeking to steal identities. By successfully getting their hands on documents containing sensitive information (including Social Insurance Numbers and account numbers), they can move on to other gains, such as obtaining credit cards bearing the names of their victims.
“Identity theft is a great threat that Canada Post is working hard with authorities to eliminate. We caution all Canadians to remain vigilant at all times,” said Moya Greene, the company’s president and CEO. “Identity theft can be frustrating, financially crippling, and its impact can continue to haunt you for years to come,” added Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada. “Your personal information is invaluable, so protect it and protect yourselves.”
Here are some of the things you can do to help prevent identity theft:
- Deposit your sensitive outgoing mail at your local post office or in one of the red street letter boxes as close as possible to the scheduled pick up time posted on the mailbox.
- Remove mail from your mailbox promptly after delivery or use a mailbox that locks, or have your mail sent to a post office box. A secure mail receptacle remains a strong deterrent. If ever you see any occurrence of vandalism or theft in progress at a community mailbox or on Canada Post property or assets, please call 911.
- If you are going away or are unable to pick up your mail for any reason, go to your local post office or online at www.canadapost.ca and file a Hold Mail Request where the mail will be held at the post office and delivered on your return. You can also have it collected on a daily basis by a trusted neighbour.
- If you plan to move in the upcoming weeks, or have already moved, make sure that you have made proper arrangements to have your mail forwarded to your new address. Go to your local post office or online at www.canadapost.ca and file a Change of Address Notification.
More information on how to protect one’s mail is available at http://www.canadapost.ca/postalsecurity
More information on identity theft and protecting your personal information.
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For more information or interview requests, contact:
Media Relations, Canada Post
Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada
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