Why would anyone want to steal your identity? They can use your personal information such as your social insurance number to open new bank accounts, get new credit cards, buy trips, cars, or transfer bank balances from one of your accounts to the new account. By the time you realize that you have been victimized, your credit rating could have been impacted and it can take a long time to repair the damage. Although you should not be responsible for the fraudulent purchases made in your name, the process required to clear everything up will be lengthy and tedious.
The CRA website has some great tips on how to protect yourself from people that are trying to steal your identity.
- Never provide personal information through the Internet or by email. The CRA does not ask you to provide personal information by email.
- Be suspicious if you are ever asked to pay taxes or fees to the CRA on lottery or sweepstakes winnings. You do not have to pay taxes or fees on these types of winnings. These requests are scams.
- Keep your access codes, user ID, passwords, and PINs secret.
- Keep your address current with all government departments and agencies.
- Choose your tax preparer carefully! Make sure you choose someone you trust and check their references. Always review your return, agree with the content before filing, and follow up to make sure you receive your notice of assessment, since it contains important financial and personal information that belongs to you.
- Before supporting any charity, use the CRA website at www.cra.gc.ca/charities to find out if the charity is registered and get more information on the way it does business.
- Be careful before you click on links in any email you receive. Some criminals may be using a technique known as phishing to steal your personal information when you click on the link.
- Caller ID is a useful function. However, the information displayed can be altered by criminals. Never use only the displayed information to confirm the identity of the caller whether it be an individual, a company or a government entity.
- Protect your social insurance number. Don’t use it as a piece of ID and never reveal it to anyone unless you are certain the person asking for it is legally entitled to that information. If an organization asks for your social insurance number, ask if it is legally required to collect it, and if not, offer other forms of ID.
- Pay attention to your billing cycle and ask about any missing account statements or suspicious transactions.
- Shred unwanted documents or store them in a secure place. Make sure that documents with your name and SIN are secure.
- Immediately report lost or stolen credit or debit cards.
- Carry only the ID you need.
- Do not write down any passwords or carry them with you.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to pick up your mail when you are away or ask that a hold be placed on delivery.
The entire article can be found on the CRA’s website at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/scrty/frdprvntn/menu-eng.html