What is Identity Fraud?

Identity fraud involves the theft and use of personal information that belongs to a true individual.  Suspects open bank accounts, credit card accounts, apply for loans or obtain utility services in the victim’s name.   Once this has occurred, the suspects can utilize these accounts, cards and services leaving the victim to deal with the financial, legal and psychological costs. 

The main focus of identity fraud is for financial gain.  Suspects open bank accounts, credit card accounts or obtain utility services in the victim’s name.   

Some Methods Thieves Use to Gain Your Personal Information

Using telephone or email, suspects may pose as a financial institution warning you of suspicious activity on your account and trick you into sending your personal, banking and password information.  

Suspects may redirect users from legitimate websites and lead them to malicious sites in order to record user names and passwords.
Suspects may obtain your personal identification numbers (PIN) at automatic teller machine by looking over your shoulder. 
Suspects will go through the trash/recycling bins to obtain credit card applications and/or documents that encompass financial and other personal information.
Theft – Thieves may steal your mail, wallets, purses, vehicle registration slips, computers which contain private information. 

Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

  • Never wire money to someone without confirming the validity of their story.
  • Never send or give out personal information over the phone or internet. 
  • Do not use public computers to complete financial transactions.
  • If you have any lost or stolen identification such as birth certificate, driver’s licence, passports, bank cards, immediately contact the agency and report it to Police.
  • Protect your PIN when using automatic teller machines and point of sale terminals.
  • Shred personal/financial documents.
  • Do not keep your vehicle registration / insurance card in your vehicle.
  • Only carry the documents that you absolutely need. 
  • Change your PIN regularly and ensure that you do not use common numbers such as your date of birth, phone number, etc.