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How To Dispose Personal Information and Prevent Identity Theft

Jacob Adams 2016-09-18 16:00:00

Identity theft is becoming more prevalent in our digital world. Thieves use particular pieces of your personal info like your Driver’s Licence number, credit card numbers and/or Social Insurance Number (SIN) along with your address, name, and even phone number to make purchases, apply for credit cards, and take out loans. Identity thieves might steal physical documents or may obtain the information they need in other ways, without you even knowing. Here are some ways you can help protect yourself against identity theft.

Be Wary of Sharing Personal Information

  • When you are asked to provide personal info, ask how it will be used, with whom it will be shared, why it’s needed, and how it will be protected.
  • Be especially careful with your SIN since it is an important part of your official identity. Only give your SIN through the phone or by mail if you have initiated the contact or if you know the person. Use other types of ID when possible.
  • If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank or credit card issuer and ask for your credit card number, do not provide it. Anyone legitimately from the bank or credit card company will already know your credit card number.
  • Give personal information over the Internet only through secure channels.
  • Never tell anyone your personal identification number (PIN). No one would ever have a reason to ask you for your PIN unless they have bad intentions.

Use Proper Security Measures

  • Protect your mail. Put all outgoing mail in the proper collection box or at your post office. Make sure you request to have your mail re-routed or forwarded if you change your mailing address/move.
  • Protect your passwords, log-in information, and PINs.
  • Keep all of your statements in a safe place. Physical paperwork is extremely vulnerable to identity thieves.
  • Always use a paper shredder to destroy paperwork that has your personal information on it. Then dispose of it carefully.
  • Don’t forget your card and receipts when you perform an ATM or debit transaction.
  • If you use online banking, make sure you protect your computer. Take advantage of technologies like data encryption and digital signatures when you use the Internet.
  • If you have sensitive or confidential documents for your business, consider talking to a shredding specialist such as Shred-it UK to help you with the disposal process.

Guard Your Cheques, Cards, and ID

  • Don’t carry your SIN card. Leave it in a safe place.
  • Only carry the credit cards and ID you need when travelling. Never leave your ID, credit cards, bank cards, or cheque book unattended in your car or at work.
  • Don’t carry your cards in your cheque book.
  • Sign the back of your credit cards in permanent ink as soon as you receive them.
  • If your cheque book is stolen or lost, call your bank right away and tell them the missing cheque numbers.
  • Make a list of all of your cards and their numbers and keep this information in a safe place. People can use your credit card numbers to make transactions even without the cards in-hand.
  • Keep your card in view at all times when you make a purchase; do not ever let anyone take it out of your sight. Take your card back as soon as the transaction is completed.
  • Never sign a blank charge slip or cheque.

Check Statements for Accuracy

  • Pay attention to your billing cycle; if bills fail to arrive when they normally do, contact the companies to make sure they haven’t been misdirected.
  • Check your account statements as soon as they are received told look over your passbooks regularly to make sure all charges and transactions are correct. Look for any missing or extra transactions and report discrepancies to your bank or credit card company.
  • Get your credit report from a reliable credit reporting agency once a year to make sure it doesn’t include activities or debts you haven’t incurred or authorized.
  • Keep notes of all transactions, especially ones you do over the phone, and store them securely. Print off receipts of transactions made on the Internet.