Identity Theft in Canada
Identity theft continues to rise in Canada due recent advances in technology that give thieves more ways to defraud victims. These thieves may steal, alter, or hijack your identity or business to commit their long list of crimes under your name and with your money.
To kick start their fraudulent activities such as opening new bank accounts, applying for loans, or make expensive purchases under your name, these thieves often use one of their many schemes to get a hold of your personal information (i.e. your name, address, social insurance number, mother's maiden name, etc).
Thinking that it won't ever happen to you, is the worse thing you can do to prevent it from happening to you, because anyone can fall victim to this theft. Meaning it's never too late to learn how to safeguard yourself from this type of fraud.
According to Louis Robertson, head of the RCMP's criminal analysis unit at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center, "Identity theft now is probably the most important problem for Canadian consumers." In 2006, 212,859 Canadians were victimized by identity theft and their losses totaled to $15, 731, 000.
The federal government realizing the costly growing problem introduced a new legislation on November 21, 2007 designed to target identity thieves and stop the number of fraud-related crimes.
The new bill will amend the Criminal Code, making it illegal for any one to "phish" for and collect other peoples' personal information, including their credit cards, debit cards, and driver's license.
Chris Mathers, a crime and risk consultant and former RMCP member, says while identity theft is a major issue, it's important to keep the issue in perspective. He notes, that not many people understand what identity theft entails. Fraudsters don't want to be you, they just want to your personal information for a very short period of time so they can use your finances.