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10 tips for preventing identity theft

March 2013

The term identity theft can be used for everything from cheque forgery and the use of stolen credit cards to sophisticated scams in which an impostor adopts other people’s identity to gain access to their assets. Here are some everyday tips for reducing your risk of identity theft.

Infographic: 10 Tips for preventing identity  theft. Description follows.

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Don’t Have an Identity Crisis

10 Tips for preventing identity theft

Secure your devices – Ensure your operating system, software, browsers, anti-virus and firewalls are installed, updated and properly configured.

Lock it down – If you use a computer, laptop or mobile device, both privacy and security depend on use of strong passwords and encryption.

Protect your mail – Ensure your mailbox is secured; pick-up sensitive documents in-person; follow up on bills or statements that don’t arrive.

Consider what you carry - Remove cards or documents from your wallet that you don’t use regularly, especially your Social Insurance Number (SIN) card or birth certificate.

Shop securely – If online, ensure the site is secure (look for the 'lock' icon or green highlighted URL). In person, use chip and PIN devices only.

Don’t dump data - Shred personal documents that you no longer need and delete personal information before discarding or selling a digital device (although deleting doesn’t always wipe data completely—additional steps may be required). 

Take care with credit – Be cautious when providing credit card information, review statements and cut up unused or expired cards.

Spot the scam - Do not reply to email messages, click links or open attachments from companies or others asking for your personal information. 

Be firm on the phone - Don’t give personal information to anyone who phones unless you can confirm they are from a legitimate company.

Be cautious and curious – If asked for your personal information, ask how it will be used, why it is needed, and how it will be protected. When in doubt, don’t give it out.

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