Identity Theft FAQ for Canadians

Identity Theft Canada >> How Do Identity Thieves Obtain Your Private Information

How Do Identity Thieves Obtain Your Private Information

As of recently, one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada is the identity theft. Everything that someone needs in order to impersonate you, is information such as address, name, cell phone, phone number, medical card number, bank account number, social insurance number, the numbers of your debit and credit cards, birth date, the maiden name of your mother, and so on. Identity theft takes place when someone obtains such information in an illegal manner and uses it for his own purposes. This person will be able to drain your bank accounts, open new credit card accounts, buy cars and other vehicles, pay for utility services, apply for loans, etc.

    A variety of hi- and low-tech methods are employed by the thieves in order to acquire your personal data. There is no fully safe way to safeguard it. Most known methods that are employed by imposters to steal somebody else`s information include:

  • One of the easiest and most common methods for the acquisition of information is by stealing mail which contains statements of credit card transactions, bank statements, pre-approved offers for credit cards, investment statements, credit reports, insurance statements, and the like.
  • The information which is sent electronically can be intercepted. This includes public pay phones, e-mail, cordless or cellular phones.
  • Unsecured sites are also places where personal data may be obtained.
  • Disloyal employee at your place of work may also sell personal data. This way, personal information can be bought from insider sources.
  • A formal request for address change can divert your mail to a new place.
  • Your bank account number can be obtained; then, the new checks can be redirected to a new address.
  • When contacting an employees at financial institutions, “pretext calling” may be used by an individual who pretends to be a client. He aims to acquire access to account information for the creation of fraudulent accounts.

Personal information obtained through the above mentioned ways may be used by the identity thieves to disastrous effects. If a credit card number is obtained by someone, he will be able to contact the company which is issuer of the card and request a change of mailing address for this account. Then, charges can be made on this card. It may take some time for the actual card holder to notice the changes as the billing statement will be sent to a different address. It is of paramount importance that the bank statements are examined upon arrival in order to get accurate information. Keep a list of the statements that you expect to receive: this also helps in the early discovery of diversion.

A credit card account with your name and address may be opened if thieves discover details such as date of birth, social security number, and the maiden name of your mother. The credit card applications which have been pre-approved are targets of thieves who seek to establish new accounts. You will no find out that this account exist until charged to the limit. Then, the outstanding amount is sent over to a collection agency. Your credit history can be ruined, and all new loan applications may be turned down. Individuals with stolen identities may be left with large sums to pay.

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