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6 Ways to Help Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Written by Kelley Keehn

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

6 Ways to Help Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Financial fraud cost Canadian victims more than $108 million in 2016, a 15% increase from a year ago. Only 5% of Canadians report when they've been victimized.

1 – Watch your mail or go digital

Make a list of all your bills and when they arrive. If some don't arrive, that could be a first warning sign that someone is diverting your mail.

2 – Check your credit report

If you see a loan, cell phone account or anything listed on your report that wasn't initiated by you, immediately contact Equifax.ca and TransUnion.ca.

3 – Lock up important documents in your home

Don't leave passports, investment applications, tax assessments, applications for your child's RESP around the house for the cleaning person, contractor or your house guests to see.

4 – Set up a pro-active credit alert on your file

Contact both Equifax® and TransUnion® — the two main credit reporting agencies in Canada — to set up an alert on your credit file. The cost is only $5 each and lasts 6 years. Provides an extra layer of security where the lender must call you before granting new credit. Equifax reports that customers who set up a fraud alert increased by 28% in 2016.

5 - Protect your PIN

Make sure you protect your PIN by changing it periodically; it should be something hard to guess but easy for you to remember. Don't write it down and don't share it with anyone.

6 – Don't carry more than you need in your wallet

Only credit card, debit card, driver's licence, health care card and list of medications. Leave everything else at home. Don't bring your Social Insurance Number card. For a list of who can ask you for your Social Insurance Number, see https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/sin/protect.html

Equifax is a registered trademark of Equifax Services Ltd.

TransUnion is a registered trademark of Trans Union LLC

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