Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Identity Theft on the Rise: What you need to know to protect your personal information

According to the RCMP, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world and affects 1 in 6 Canadians annually with losses of approximately $3 billion! Due to the rise of technology, identity theft has become easier than ever, putting every single Canadian at risk. Remember the National Student loan personal information leak of 2012? A hard drive went missing that contained addresses, birthdates and SIN numbers of over 500,000 Canadians! Sometimes the most secure channels fail, which is why it’s important to educate yourself on the myriad of ways you can lower the risk of having your identity stolen.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is stealing personal information such as name, date of birth, address, and social security number in order to commit fraud. 

Identity Theft Crimes:

Crimes range from minor credit card charges to taking out loans, credit cards, and subscriptions under your name, or worse, an individual assuming your identity indefinitely.

Many victims of identity theft do not know it’s happening to them until they apply for a mortgage or loan and are quickly denied due to delinquent credit history! Imagine finding out you owe thousands of dollars because someone else assumed your identity. 

Experiencing identity theft can be quite stressful and difficult to deal with alone. Protecting yourself from identity theft through preventative measures will save you a lot of time and grief in the future. 

Best practices for preventing identity theft:

  •   Monitor all activity on credit card statements: be sure to carefully review charges on your credit cards every month and report any suspicious or erroneous purchases right away
  • Shred all banking documents before disposing
  •  Only provide personal information to reputable companie
  •  Never provide personal information over the phone until you validate the caller
  • Report loss of: Driver’s license, credit cards, bank cards and SIN cards immediately

Identity theft insurance is your best protection:

With identity theft numbers on the rise, more and more people are turning to insurance to help protect against a crime that has no boarders

Depending on the company, identity theft insurance can cover most expenses accrued such as legal fees, loss of wages (ex: for missing work due to court sessions), monitoring your credit after the theft and more. 

Identity theft is not only hard on your credit score rating, but it is also quite time consuming to deal with the fallout. With identity theft insurance, your insurer takes care of most of that for you.

For more information about identity theft insurance, contact one of our experience brokers who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have on this subject.