What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is when a criminal steals or gains access to your sensitive personal information with the intention of using it to commit a fraudulent act.
This could include stealing social insurance numbers, banking information, online passwords, credit card information, or anything else that might put some aspect of your personal identity at risk.
Identity theft could even be as simple as someone else using your name without your knowledge.
Unfortunately, in many cases of identity theft, the perpetrator is known to the victim. They could be a friend, family member, or colleague.
But, just how big of a problem is identity theft?
Let’s take a look at a few statistics to shed some light on the matter.
5 Identity Theft Statistics
- Canadians lost $21.2 million related to identity theft in 2018, up from $11.7 million the year before. (CPA Canada)
- In 2012, some 17,094 Canadians were victims of identity theft. In 2014, that number jumped to 20,611, an increase of nearly 20% in 2 years. (National Bank Insurance).
- According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, 1.3 million children’s records are stolen every year. (Comparitech)
- Despite the verified increase in data protection it provides, 75 percent of consumers fail to use a VPN to protect their WiFi connections. (Comparitech)
- A majority (80%) of Canadian adults surveyed feel that identity theft is a problem in Canada (38% a very serious problem and 42% a somewhat serious problem). (IPSOS)
The number of reported cases of identity theft in Canada is on the rise. This makes it more important than ever that you, your family, and your business are taking the steps necessary to protect your identity.
Here are just a few ways you can do so:
How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft
So now you know how identity theft can have a negative effect on your life, but how can you protect yourself?
There are a number of things you can do:
- Report the situation to the police immediately.
- Get in touch with Service Canada.
- Contact your bank and credit card company.
- Reset all online passwords.
- Report all stolen property.
- Contact a credit reporting agency (Equifax or TransUnion) to get a credit report so you can assess if any underhand acts were carried out in your name.
Shred Your Paper Documents
One of the best ways to protect yourself from Identity theft is by making sure you always shred your paper documents before disposing of them.
Not only is this vital for protecting your personal identity, but it’s also crucial for businesses as well.
Data leakage can expose sensitive information about your company and clients.
There are many companies that specialize in shredding sensitive documents. In fact, some even have mobile shredding units that come right to your door.
If you require paper shredding services in Edmonton, feel free to contact the team at Western Archives today!