Prevent identity theft

What is it?
Identity theft is the crime of stealing personal, identifying information for the purpose of using that information fraudulently. Examples of information that can be stolen include social insurance numbers (SIN), credit card and banking account numbers, usernames and passwords. This stolen information can be then used for things such as fraudulently opening new credit accounts, taking out loans in the victim's name, stealing money from financial accounts, or using available credit on a credit card.

Scam artists who commit identity theft are savvy, well-organized professional criminals. Typical identity theft techniques and scams include:

  • using professional marketing materials to get information from you
  • well-crafted and researched telephone scripts – traded amongst criminals – delivered in a friendly and generous tone to get information from you over the phone
  • impersonation of legitimate businesses and charities.

Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in North America. Some of the more common methods of identity theft include:

  • fraudulent emails or phone calls asking for personal and financial information (phishing)
  • stealing paper bills and invoices from your home mailbox or garbage
  • mirroring legitimate websites
  • fraudulently collecting for charities
  • malware downloaded onto your computer.

How you can prevent it

  • Notice if you see a decline in the amount of mail you receive.
  • Take note of any suspicious transactions.
  • Report any unexpected purchase declines.
  • Be wary of any strange calls from collection agencies,
  • Be suspicious of any new credit cards that come in the mail that you haven’t applied for.
  • Provide your personal information only to organizations you know and trust.
  • Shred unwanted personal documents such as transaction records, credit applications, insurance forms, cheques, financial statements and tax returns.
  • Sign the back of your credit and debit cards.
  • Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
  • Cancel and destroy all unused cards.
  • Check your credit report every year at: Equifax Canada (1.877.227.8800) or TransUnion Canada (1.877.525.3823).

If you think somebody is trying to illegally obtain your personal or financial information or think you have been a victim of identity theft, contact our Member Services Centre at 604.877.7000 or toll free at 1.888.Vancity (826.2489) or your branch immediately.

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