In our electronic world, identity theft remains an issue. Bow Valley Insurance, a Calgary insurance brokerage firm reminds you to be careful about sharing too much personal information with anyone.
We frequently hear about online security breaches involving stolen credit card numbers, bank account information, and other personal information. Every few weeks, we hear of a new scam to watch out for. At Bow Valley Insurance we know several ways everyone can save on home insurance, and identity theft protection is optional coverage we encourage everyone to include in their policy.
How to Recognize Identity Theft: The Fraudulent Use of Personal Information
You become a victim of identity theft if someone uses your name, Social Insurance Number (SIN), bank account, credit card number, or any other type of personal or private financial information without your knowledge or consent. While there is no reason to be fearful, there are certain signs indicating an imposter is using your personal information.
- A bank account is established in your name that you did not open
- An application for credit is received in your name for which you did not apply
- You have not applied for a credit card, but are notified an application is received in your name
- You receive notification that you were approved or denied for a credit application for which you did not apply
- You receive a bill or credit card statement from an account established in your name for which you did not apply
- An unauthorized party orders an additional card for an account that you own
- Missed credit card statements or not all of your mail gets delivered
- A collection agency informs you that they are collecting on an account established in your name; which you never opened
Tips From Your Calgary Insurance Brokers: Reporting Fraudulent Use of Personal Information
Thieves often target credit card companies, phone companies, banks and other lenders, and if anyone uses your personal information without your permission, it’s a crime you need to report.
If you believe your personal information has been stolen and used to commit theft or fraud, begin by making a log of the dates, institutions, and people you contact regarding the misuse of your personal information and exactly what was said, and immediately take the following steps:
- Contact the fraud departments of any bank or lender you believe may have a fraudulent account open in your name
- Contact the fraud department of both major credit bureaus and request that a “Fraud Alert” be placed in your file. Contact Equifax at: 866-828-5961 and Trans Union at: (800) 663-9980
- File a report with your local law enforcement agency or the police in the community where the theft of your personal information occurred
- Contact the CAFC to record your information on the theft. The CAFC assists law enforcement agencies in their investigation of possible fraud
Protect Yourself From Scams!
A scam often involves someone posing as a telemarketer delivering “news” or offering an “opportunity” that sounds too good to be true. As a general rule, if you did not initiate the contact yourself, be careful
According to the CAFC, the typical scam has the following characteristics:
- A person contacts you asking for your personal or private financial information (the caller will often use your first name)
- A department “manager” calls, claiming to be a government official, tax officer, banking official, attorney or other person with authority who quickly wants to take your money
- An “incredible” deal is offered on a product or service, but the caller only accepts cash (thieves cannot establish themselves as legitimate merchants with a credit card company)
- The telemarketer is more excited about the “opportunity” than you are
- The caller states you are a “winner” but you must pay before you can receive your prize
Bow Valley Insurance: Your Calgary Insurance Brokers
The brokers at Bow Valley Insurance remind you to be cautious when sharing your personal information. Identity theft can happen to anyone and to properly protect yourself, we suggest including Identity Theft Insurance in your home insurance coverage.