Identity theft. We continue to hear of fraudsters hijacking
someone’s ID to access money or get credit. The victim is
burdened with proving “that wasn’t me!”
Identity theft also destroys one’s credit score, so you
can’t get a mortgage, vehicle loan or credit card until you
resolve things—a process that takes endless frustrating
hours. It’s not just negligent or careless people who have
their identity stolen.
It even happened to me. A photocopy of my identity
documents was compromised by a hotel administrator: an
inside job by a trusted professional. Having been a victim
despite my hyper-vigilant nature, I know the frustration
and vulnerability that accompany being targeted.
Prevention is key. These 12 tips will help reduce your risk
of identity theft:
1. Use biometric wallets like Apple Pay, a hardware-secured
payment system that uses one-time tokens rather
than credit card numbers and codes. Face and fingerprint
recognition safeguard against unauthorized use.
2. Remove any ID from your wallet or purse that you don’t
often need, and lock it away.
3. Swipe or tap your own payment cards on readers. Nearfield
communication (NFC) information used by contactless
cards can be scanned and later replicated.
4. Don’t open suspect emails or click on links within them.
Never open an unexpected attachment, no matter who it
appears to be from.
5. Be on guard for phone calls, visits, texts or emails from
strangers asking for personal information. Never give
out your date of birth, bank account number, or personal
6. Refuse copying of your ID (at hotels, for instance) and
offer less invasive means of confirmation.
7. Shred all private and financial documents before discarding.
8. Update all financial institutions of any change to your
9. Routinely check your credit reports, bank statements
and credit card bills line-by-line. Report anything suspicious.
10. Subscribe to a credit monitoring service, especially if
your identity might be compromised.
11. Look for the “https” (with an “s” for Secure) and padlock
icon beside a website’s URL indicating information is
encrypted in transit.
12. Never store your credit or debit PINs anywhere near
the cards. Use an encrypted password app.
If you suspect your identity has been compromised, get
Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, both national
credit bureaus and your local police. Together we can
reduce everyone’s risk of identity theft.
Brian Summerfelt, President & CEO
Metropolitan Credit Adjusters Ltd.
400 10310 Jasper Ave
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2W4
Toll-free:1(888)797-7727 ext 2377