As more and more of our everyday lives happen online, we are becoming more vulnerable to identity theft – the acquiring and collecting of personal information for criminal purposes. In fact, it looks like there were more instances of identity theft in the US in 2017 than in any previous year, according to Javelin Strategy and Research as reported by CBS news on Feb 6, 2018.
In order to protect yourself and your family it is important to be careful online and offline. According to the RCMP, thieves are looking for info such as your SIN, PINs, passport number, credit card info, driver’s license number, and mother’s maiden name. This type of information should only be provided when needed and to institutions that actually need them for identification and tax reporting purposes. For example, your SIN is not needed or required when signing up for phone or internet services. This Government of Canada site lists who should and shouldn’t ask for your SIN.
To protect yourself and your family, consider shredding any mail or papers with any of the personal information listed above by the RCMP. Make sure that any email attachments are safe by following up with the person who sent it. An email that looks like it comes from a friend or even a bank may not actually be from that source. Read the email policy of the companies that you deal with – or ask them about it when you sign up for their services.
Another strategy may be to subscribe to a service such as Horizons Guard that monitors your Credit Bureau file and will alert you of any unusual behaviour and help restore your credit if there is a breach.
We all take precautions to safe guard our physical lives, such as security alarms and insurance. We are entering a time when it is coming just as important to protect our virtual lives as well.
By the way, please feel free to contact me if you have questions about Horizons Guard or if you want to enroll, it is a simple online application.
Financial Advisor & President