Protecting your personal information is the best way to avoid identity theft. Follow these tips to protect yourself from fraud.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes worldwide. It happens when someone steals your personal information.
Criminals can obtain your personal information in a number of ways—by stealing your cards, posing as an employer or bank or utility company employee, grabbing information off websites that are not secure, or sorting through garbage. Once they have your card information and your personal identification number (PIN), criminals can open a new credit card account or bank account in your name. And often you won't know until it's too late.
Protect your personal identity
- Carry only those bank or credit cards you need. Leave the others at home in a safe place.
- Sign your cards immediately.
- Don’t carry your social insurance number or birth certificate with you and don't give out the numbers unless absolutely required. Keep these numbers in a secure, safe place.
- Don’t attach or write your PIN or social insurance number onto anything you are going to discard, such as receipts or scraps of paper.
Shred any document that contains your debit or credit card number before you discard it.
- Check your receipts to make sure they belong to you and not someone else.
- Don’t give personal information or account numbers to anyone until you have confirmed the identity of the person asking for it. Ask how the information will be used and whether it will be shared with anyone. Ask if you have a choice about providing personally identifying information. If you can, keep it confidential.
Learn more about communicating safely with ATB
- Check your credit report frequently so you’re aware of any changes or unusual activity. Credit information can be obtained once a year at no charge from Equifax Canada by calling 1-800-465-7166 or from TransUnion Canada by calling 1-800-663-9980.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing credit card bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your credit card account and changed your billing address to cover their tracks.
- Guard your mail from theft. Promptly remove your mail from the mail box and ask Canada Post to hold your mail if you'll be away for some time.
- Protect your computer with a good firewall and anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Use technologies that enhance security and privacy when using the Internet, such as digital signatures and data encryption.
- Avoid posting personal information on publicly accessible websites and online bulletin boards.
- Give your social insurance number only when absolutely necessary. Don't include it or other personal information on hard-copy or online resumes.
- When you register for certain websites, choose unique, memorable passwords and commit them to memory instead of writing them down. A password that combines both letters and numbers is more secure than one with letters only. Read more on protecting your password.
- Be wary of online offers from websites you don't know and trust.
- Shred outdated bills, tax documents, and other personal information.
Take immediate action if you suspect identity theft
- Call ATB Financial immediately, toll-free at 1-800-332-8383, seven days a week, if you think you have been a victim of identity theft or if you see unusual activity in any of your accounts. We can provide advice on what to do with your credit card accounts, bank accounts, and investments with ATB Financial.
- Call the police and file a report. Ask for a copy of the police report.
- Contact each credit grantor who has allowed a fraudulent account and tell them you did not open that account. Have them close the accounts.
- Change your PIN immediately. If you open new accounts, make sure you put a new password on the accounts.
- Contact Canada Post if someone is diverting your mail.
- Document all the contacts you make (ATB, police, credit grantors, Canada Post), along with dates, names, and phone numbers.