What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when someone illegally obtains your personal information — such as your Social Insurance number, bank account number, or other identification — and uses it repeatedly to open new accounts or initiate transactions in your name. For example, someone might do a combination of the following: open new credit cards, open new bank accounts, forge checks, and even apply for loans using your name and personal information. This can cause financial loss and damage your credit, which can lead to a lengthy resolution process.
Keep in mind however, that even if you think your security has been compromised, it does not automatically mean that you are a victim of identity theft. It might be an incorrect entry or an isolated incident of theft from your Advance Savings account that is quickly resolved by calling Advance Savings at 506-855-2728.
How does identity theft happen?
Identity theft is portrayed as a high-tech crime affecting only those people who shop, communicate, or do business online. However, while thieves can obtain personal information via online methods, the majority of identity theft happens offline. Stealing wallets and purses, intercepting or rerouting your mail, and rummaging through your garbage are some of the common tactics that thieves can use to obtain personal information. The good news is that the more information you have about identity theft the better your defense.
How can I help protect myself?
- Do not open or respond to online solicitations for personal information. Advance Savings will never send email containing attachments, or require customers to send personal information via email or pop-up windows.
- Carry only necessary identification. In particular, do not carry your Social Insurance card.
- When a Social Insurance number is requested to sign up for a service, confirm that it is actually needed rather than some other identifier.
- Make photocopies of all the information you carry daily and store them in a secure location like a safety deposit box.
- Shred financial or personal documents before discarding. Most fraud and identity theft incidences happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- Utilize paperless options and limit your receipt of paper statements by managing your accounts online with MemberDirect Online Banking®. Checking your balances online can help you regularly monitor your account activity and more quickly detect any fraudulent transactions.
- Receive and pay bills online with MemberDirect Online Banking®. The fewer personal documents sent through the mail, the less chance there is for possible fraud.
- Always put outgoing mail in a Canada Post mailbox, which is more secure than your home mailbox.
- Collect your mail promptly each day.
Identity theft is a growing concern for Canadians. There are ways that you can be proactive in protecting yourself and your loved ones. The Consumer Measure Committee has a public, government sponsored site (cmcweb.ca) which has useful information on how to prevent identity theft and what to do should you become a victim of such a crime.
To report an incident or suspected incident of identity theft, your first line of contact should be your credit union at 506-855-2728.