Identity Theft

Protect Your Identity!

Imagine this:

Unexpectedly, you get turned down for a loan, you get a call from a collection agency about an account you never opened, or worse yet, a call from the police about a crime you didn't commit.  Suddenly, you're a victim of identity theft.

 

Identity theft is a fast-growing crime

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in North Anerica.  Between September 2001 and April 2002, there were over 3,880 reports of identity theft in Canada alone, wieh reported losses of over $4.6 million.  It happens when someone steals your personal information - your social insurance number, driver's license number, health card number, credit card number, debit card, or your PIN number.

 

Criminals get this information in a number of ways, including stealing your cards, posing as an employer, credit union or utility company employee, grabbing information from website that are not secure, sorting through garbage, or using devious ways to find out your PIN number.  It can happen to anyone.  In the course of a busy day people use an ATM to get money for groceries, charge tickets to a hockey game, mail their tax returns, call home on their cell phones or apply for a new credit card.  We don't give these everyday transactions a second thought; but someone else does.  Someone who is interested in using these everyday transactions to steal your personal information and use it to commit fraud or theft.

 

Once they have you card information and your PIN number, criminals can open a new credit card account or financial account in your name.  And the worst thing is, you won't know about it until it's too late!

 

How identity thieves can get your personal information . . .

  • They steal wallets and purses containing your identification, credit and debit cards
  • They steal your mail, including your debit and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, telephone calling cards and tax information
  • They complete a 'change of address' form to divert your mail to another location
  • They rummage through your garbage or the garbage of businesses for personal data
  • They fraudulently obtain your credit report by posing as a landlord, employer or someone else who may have a legitimate or legal right to the information
  • They get your business or personnel records at work
  • They find personal information in your home
  • They use personal information you share on the internet
  • They buy your personal information from 'inside' sources, like a dishonest store employee

How identity thieves use your personal information . . .

  • They call your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, ask to increase your credit limit and to change the mailing address on your credit card account.  The thief then runs up charges on your account and because the bills are being sent to another address, it may take some time before you know there's a problem.
  • They open a new credit card account using your name, date of birth and SIN number.  When they use the credit card and don't pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report.
  • They establish phone or internet service in your name.
  • They open a bank account in your name and write bad cheques on that account.
  • They counterfeit cheques or debit cards and drain your account.
  • They buy cars by taking out car loans in your name.
  • The mortgage your home.

New Ross Credit Union takes steps to protect you . . .

Protecting the confidentiality and security of your personal information is one of New Ross Credit Union's top priorities.

We actively work to detect and investigate any irregular activity in your accounts.  Your credit union debit and credit cards contain only the minimum amount of information necessary to make a transaction.  As soon as you enter your personal indentification number (PIN) at an ATM or point-of-sale machine, it is automatically scrambled before it is sent on the network and the transaction processing begins.

If you lose you debit card or credit card, or you suspect someone has fraudulently created a duplicate card and is using it to take money from your account or run up your credit card, let your credit union know immediately.  1-800-LOST-111 (1-800-567-8111)

Refer to your cardholder agreement for details on liability.

We'll continue to take whatever steps we can to help you protect your identity and secure your personal information.  But there are important steps you can and should take as well.  It means you have to manage your personal informaion wisely and cautiously, and take steps to minimize your own risk.

 

Protecting your PIN is up to you . . .

Think of it like a key.  Instead of unlocking the door to your house or car, your PIN unlocks the gateway to your financial and personal information.

We regularly lock our houses and card, but too often, we're careless about the "keys" to our financial accounts and financial information.

  • Keep your debit card in a safe place and don't lend it to anyone, including friends and family.
  • Memorize your PIN number.  Don't write it down, "hide" it, post it on your computer, carry it with or attach it to your card.
  • Don't disclose your PIN to anyone (if you do, you could be held liable from losses).
  • When selecting your PIN, don't pick the obvious.  Your name, your children's names, address, telephone number, social insurance number (SIN) or date of birth are all easy to figure out.  Choose something more complicated and harder for someone else to guess.
  • Don't let your debit card out of sight when you're conducting a transaction and don't let it be "swiped' twice.  As soon as the transaction is complete, remember to take your card and the transaction record with you.
  • Don't use ATM or Point of Sale (POS) machines where you don't feel secure.  If anyone tries to distract you, retrieve your card and leave.  When you are making a transaction, use your hand or your body to prevent people from looking over your shoulder.
  • Notify the credit union immediately if you detect any irregular activity on your accounts or if your debit or credit card is lost, stolen, or retained in an ATM machine.
  • Consider changing your PIN number regularly.

Take steps to protect your personal identity . . .

  • If you have several debit cards and credit cards, carry only those that you need.  Leave the others at home in a safe place.
  • Sign your cards immediately.
  • Don't carry your social insurance card or birth certificate with you and don't give out the number unless it is absolutely required.  Keep it in a secure, safe place.
  • Don't attach or write your PIN number or social insurance number on anything you are going to discard, such as transaction records or scraps of paper.
  • Shred any document that contains your debit card 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.  You should also ask how the information will be used and whether it will be shared with anyone else.  Ask if you have a choice about providing personal identifying information and, if you can, choose to keep it confidential.
  • Frequently check your credit report so you are aware of any changes to unusual activity.  Credit information can be obtained one a year at no charge from Equifax Canada at http://www.equifax.ca or 1-800-465-7166, or Trans Union of Canada at http://www.tuc.ca or 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 bil 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 notify Canada Post to hold your mail if you're going to be away for some time.
  • Protect your computer with a good firewall and anit-virus software.  Take advantage of technologies that enhance security and privacy when using the internet, such as using digital signatures, data encryption and different ways of making the information anonymous.
  • Avoid posting personal information on publicly accessible website and online bulletin boards.
  • Give your social insurance number (SIN) only when it is absolutely necessary.  Don't include you SIN and other sensitive personal information in online resumes.
  • When you register for certain websites, use strong passwords and avoid words that are easy to guess.  Don't use the same password for different sites and don't store your password in your computer.
  • Be wary of online offers from website you do not know and trust.
  • Shred outdated bills, tax documents and other sensitive information.

TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY IF YOU SUSPECT IDENTITY THEFT . . .

  • Call your credit union immediately, at 1-800-LOST-111 (1-800-567-8111) if you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft or if there is unusual activity in any of your accounts.  This service is available seven days a week.  We can provide advice on what to do with your credit union accounts, financial accounts and investments with your credit union.
  • 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 these 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 along with the dates, names and phone numbers.

Your security is important!

At New Ross Credit Union, we are working with you to protect your identity.  By taking steps to carefully guard your PIN, safeguard you debit and credit cards, and by being aware of any unusual signs, you can minimize your risks.  At your credit union, we'll continue to use the latest technology available for debit cards, credit cards and online financial transaction to ensure that you have the best access to trusted and secure finanical services.  Your security is important to us.  If you have any questions about New Ross Credit Union's security measures or further action you can take to protect your identity, please contact either branch today to discuss your options further.

 

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