By managing your personal information carefully and sensibly, you can help guard against identity theft. We recommend a few simple precautions to keep your personal information safe.
- Don’t carry extra credit cards, your Social Insurance card, birth certificate, or passport with you unless needed.
- When you order new cheques, don’t have them sent to your home. Pick them up at the bank instead. If stolen, your cheques can be altered and cashed by identity thieves.
- Never give out personal information over the phone unless you made the call. Identity thieves may call, posing as banks or government agencies.
- Shred your receipts, credit card offers, bank statements, returned cheques, and sensitive information before throwing it away.
- Check with your employer, landlord, and others with access to your personal data to be sure that they are keeping your records safe.
- Order your credit profile to make sure it is accurate and sign up for credit monitoring to receive alerts by email if there are any changes to your credit profile.
- Protect your Social Insurance Number with extra care. Disclose it only when it’s necessary. Don’t have your Social Insurance Number printed on your cheques or any other personal documentation.
- Follow your billing cycles closely. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has changed your billing address to his own.
- File away a list of all your account numbers, with expiration dates and telephone numbers. If your wallet is stolen, you can quickly alert your creditors.
- When creating passwords and PINs, use a random mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and characters. To make it easier to remember, use the first letter of every word in a short phrase. For example, “You are the one for me” becomes Y@t1fM. Notice how the A was replaced with the @symbol, which still looks like an A and that “one” becomes the number 1. Don’t use information that may be easily discovered by identity thieves.
These are just a few tips we’ve thought of. If you have more, let us know in the comments below.