The term was coined in 1964 and is the fraudulent practice of using another person's name and personal information in order to obtain credit, loans, etc.

Published by Paragon Legal Services on November 15th, 2021.

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information without your knowledge including for criminal activity. Another form of identity theft is when someone sets up accounts on social media channels or websites using your name, image and/or other information. This can be very damaging to your reputation whether or not it affects your finances.

Unfortunately no one can be fully protected from any of the tactics ruthless thieves use to get their hands on sensitive data both personal and financial. Information which helps raise awareness about identity theft is important because being a victim of this type of scheme can be emotionally and financially devastating. Do not become a target! Get advice from an expert!

Try to observe the following to help protect yourself from potential harm:

Ø  Don’t over share – be careful about what you share on social networks especially your home or email address; children’s names; birth date et cetera. This information can be used for scams, phishing, and account theft.

Ø  Fight ‘phishing’ don’t take the bait - never give out personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you know or trust the other party.

Ø  Check your credit report - consider signing up for ongoing monitoring of your credit file to monitor potential fraudulent activity. 

Ø  Use strong passwords online - make your passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers, mixing in special characters and changing them regularly.

Ø  Don’t trust public Wi-Fi - be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hackers.

Ø  Review your transactions - check your credit card bills carefully for any unauthorized charges or withdrawals and report them immediately.

Ø  Safeguard personal information in your home especially if you are having service work done on your premises, employ outside help or have a roommate.

Ø  Protect your mail - bring in your mail daily; forward or re-route your mail if you move, change your mailing address or are planning to be away for a while or on vacation.

Ø  Properly dispose of old credit or debit cards.

Ø  Don’t divulge personal information through the mail, by phone or online unless you trust the person.

Ø  Never tell anyone your banking PIN or credit card PIN.

Ø  Make sure no one is watching when you use a banking machine or ATM.

Ø  You are not required to provide stores your full mailing address, email address and date of birth – this is too much personal information.

Ø  Shred all documents you are discarding including pre-approved credit applications received in your name, insurance forms, bank cheques and statements, any other financial or personal information. An identity thief can easily rummage through your garbage or recycling.

Do you think you may be a target or victim of identity theft and need advice? Contact our professional at Paragon Legal Services today!