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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.

So, take a minute or two to find out more about "What is Identity Theft?" and the signs that indicate that you may be a victim of identity theft, since it's never too late to become too careful.

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.