Home Insurance: Identity Theft and the Top 10 Prevention Tips!

Identity theft resized 600Does your home insurance policy cover you for Identity Theft? Identity theft can happen to anyone, at anytime, anywhere. Criminals use individuals’ personal information illegally for fraudulent purposes, such as financial benefit. More and more Canadians are being affected by identity theft every year. Recovering from identity theft can be very costly and time consuming with the average out of pocket expenses ranging from $800 to $1400.

What is considered personal information?

Personal information includes: name, address, date of birth, social insurance number, credit card number, debit card, bank account number, PIN number, etc.

What are some of the ways identity thieves get your personal information?

•Stealing wallets, purses, residential mail including credit card statements, tax information, etc.

•Looking through garbage to find bills or other papers with your personal information.

•Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special scanning device when your card is being processed.

•Sending spam emails or pop-up messages pretending to be legitimate companies.

•Completing a change of address form to divert your mail to another location.

What are common warning signs of identity theft?

•Bills that don’t arrive on time, or even at all

•Receiving credit card statements for accounts you do not have

•Bank statements show withdrawals or transfers you didn’t make

•Calls about purchases you didn’t make

•You apply for credit and you are turned down or you have been approved for a card that you didn’t apply for

Other ways your name can be used illegally:

•Mortgage or sale of your home.

•Getting a job in your name and filing fraudulent tax returns in your name

•Giving your name to the police during an arrest and a warrant for an arrest gets issued in your name if there is a “no show” for their court date

•Getting photo identification such as a driver’s license or passport issued

What are some of the ways identity thieves use your identity:

Although credit and debit card fraud are the most common forms of identity theft, the threat is much broader and could arise from:

•Opening bank accounts in your name and writing bad cheques

•Taking a mortgage out in your name and not making payment

•Changing your billing address on your credit card and making purchases

•Opening credit cards in your name and not paying the bills

•Taking out a loan in your name to purchase goods

•Using your phone number to make unauthorized long distance calls

Top 10 Tips on how can you help prevent identity theft

1. Secure personal information in your home, especially if you are renting or having work done in your home.

2. Do not give your personal information such as SIN, date of birth, credit card numbers, or PIN over the phone or share with others.

3. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery and do not leave pieces of mail lying around your home or at work. If you will be away, arrange to have your mail picked up or delivery temporarily stopped.

4. Carry only identification and the credit/debit cards that you will actually need when you go out

5. Do not put papers with personal details in your recycling bin (e.g. preapproved credit card applications, credit and debit card receipts, and bills). Instead, shred or destroy them

6. Never leave your bank receipts at bank machines, in trash cans, or at gas pumps. Shred or destroy them

7. Use complex passwords on your credit card, financial and other accounts

8. Cut up your expired or unused credit and/or debit cards

9. Notify your credit card company of travel dates so they can monitor possible fraudulent purchases made after those dates.

10. And lastly, make sure your Home Insurance Policy covers you for Identity Theft!


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