WATCH your IDENTITY!
Identity (ID) theft is serious. It occurs when someone steals your personal information to commit a crime. While you can't entirely control whether you will become a victim there are ways to minimize the risk.
Guard Your Personal Information
- Never give personal information by phone, Internet or mail unless you initiate the contact.
- Be careful about sharing personal information and don't give out more than you need to.
- Shield your PIN, and never lend cards.
- Immediately report missing credit or debit cards.
- Carry only the ID you need.
- Put other ID documents (SIN, birth certificate, passport) in a safe place.
- Shred documents with personal information.
- SIN is only for employment and tax reporting.
- Ask about the security of your information at work, with businesses and charities.
Guard your Computer and its Information
- Select a complex password of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Install firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and security software-update often.
- Don't try, don't buy and don't reply to spam or emails that ask for banking information.
- For online transactions, look for https://, a closed lock or an unbroken key icon.
- When disposing of hard drives, use overwrite software or destroy the drive.
ARE YOU a VICTIM?
With your identity, thieves can open new bank accounts, order cell phones, take out a mortgage on your property and buy cars or furniture.
Signs of ID Theft
- Purchases not made by you appear on your monthly bills.
- Bills arrive on accounts you don't own.
- Collection agency calls about unknown debt.
- Credit card/bank statements don't arrive.
- Your credit report shows mystery debts.
What to Do
- Call financial institutions and local police.
- Put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting
Equifax: 1-866-779-6440 and
Trans Union: 1-877-525-3823
(Quebec residents: 1-877-713-3393).
- To replace ID cards like health, driver's licence, SIN
call 1-800 O Canada
- Contact Canada Post if your mail is missing.
- Keep records of steps taken to clear your name and re-establish your credit.
- Help stop fraud. Contact PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501 or phonebusters.com
For more information on Identity Theft visit
Please be diligent about who you deal with and whom you share your information with!
Here are a few of my favorite past articles from my Lethbridge real estate and mortgage blog you might have missed or wish to recommend them to a friend.
WANTED: Single Women: - Single women are a hot mortgage market
Common Financial Problems - Avoid these financial mistakes
Get Your Credit Score UP - Invaluable insight into your credit score
Mortgage Guidelines Get Tighter - Harder and harder to borrow money
Is Your Mortgage Company Out of Business in 2009? - What to do when your bank goes broke
What is wrong with MLS - Is your info being abused?
Survivor - Real Estate Edition - Let's vote a few more off the island
Robert May is a Realtor, as well as the broker and owner of Rainbow Realty of Lethbridge Alberta. He is also a licensed mortgage broker and mortgage financing expert with Canada First Mortgage of Calgary Alberta. He has been in the lethbridge real estate industry since 1993 and offers full MLS services to the Lethbridge real estate market and surrounding area.. He can be found online at www.LethbridgeLoans.com
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Robert W May is a Real Estate Broker in Lethbridge Alberta, having now been in the industry for over 23 years. . He was also a licensed Lethbridge mortgage broker and financing expert with Canada First Mortgage of Calgary Alberta for the past 10 years. He is an industry leader always willing to help train and educate others in how to improve their business models for financial and personal benefit.