How can I protect myself from identity theft?
Your best protection is to try to make sure that your personal information is as safe as possible. Here are some suggestions:
- Shred all documents that contain personal information before you throw them in the garbage or recycling.
- Remove mail from your mailbox as soon as possible. Keep mail in a safe place in your home. If you are away from home, ask a neighbour you trust to pick up your mail.
- Never lend anyone your credit card or debit card. Do not give your PIN number to anyone. It is best not to write your PIN down anywhere, but if you write it down, do not keep it with your card.
- When using your credit or debit card in a store, bank machine, or ATM, keep your card safe and use your free hand to hide the keys when you enter your PIN number.
- Do not give personal information over the phone or through the mail to anyone you are not sure about. Never share personal information on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter. Do not reply to unusual or suspicious emails.
- On your computer, always use virus and antispam protection programs. Make sure that you update these programs regularly.
- If you are shopping online, or using other websites that ask you to enter personal information, make sure the site is secure. Look for a lock symbol, and “https://” at the start of the site's website address.
- Your credit card or debit card should be swiped only once at a checkout. If an employee swipes your card more than once for no reason, tell the manager.
- Don't carry your birth certificate or passport with you unless you need it that day.
- Check your bank and credit card statements regularly. If you see anything that doesn't look right, call the bank or credit card company right away.