Hopefully this never happens to you, but unfortunately, it does happen to more and more people everyday.
It can happen in the blink of an eye and turn your life upside down in a flash. Hundreds of thousands of people are targeting annually and the problem is only growing at an enormous rate.
The most important thing to do if it does happen to you, REACT immediately. Contact your credit card companies…..call your financial institutions and any other relevant cards that go missing.
CALL THE POLICE AT ONCE AND REPORT THE THEFT! Get the crime on record so you have a case file number to refer to when calling other agencies.
You will most likely have to replace your driver’s license, your social insurance card and your B.C. Care card as well. Call your local government offices right away and let them know exactly what happened.
Check your mail asap if the thief has access to your address.
It can be emotionally draining to have identity theft happen to you or your family. You feel personally violated and you can be without your personal identification for an extended period of time; which means no credit card access or banking access. Often these perpetrators sell your information, so it can take days and sometimes weeks to sort everything out
Make sure your passwords and PIN codes are difficult to guess. Never use the same password twice on any accounts and change them frequently. Yes, this is an annoyance but having to rebuild your credit history due to identity theft is much more time consuming than changing your passwords. Make your passwords at least 8 characters mixing capital and small letters with numbers. The harder to guess the better!
Don’t give your personal information to anyone online! Any reputable company will not require your security passwords or credit information online without a SECURE site in plain view for you to see. Personally, I only shop online with a large reputable company that I feel secure about.
When throwing out your mail SHRED anything personal in your mail. Yes, thieves will go through your garbage to steal your identity.
DO NOT under any circumstances leave your wallet or purse in your car unattended. Not only will you lose all of your personal information and money, you will have to pay for the smashed window that the thieves break to get their hands on your wallets.
Shield your password whenever using an ATM or entering your information in a store debit machine. Thieves are everywhere looking over your shoulder as you enter your security code.
Check your mailbox daily. It is very easy for thieves to pry open your mailbox if you have an outside box where your mail is delivered. If you are planning a holiday have a relative or friend pick up your mail everyday!
In this day and age, you just cannot be too careful! Identity theft is a huge problem for everyone concerned, so don’t become a victim.