On the heels of Fraud Prevention Month which just passed us in March, I wanted to talk about one of the major fraud trends we’ve seen in the area, that being identity theft. Using someone else’s identity, fraudsters can obtain credit, open bank accounts, order goods online, and even obtain health care that they are not entitled too. So the question is, how do we prevent it?
Here are a few tips for you like carrying fewer pieces of ID in your wallet or purse, never disclosing personal details over the internet or phone unless you can verify the receiver, and how about shredding your bills and invoices? If criminals will break into mail boxes for your information, I don’t think they’d mind rooting through a little trash to get what they want.
Also, check in with our national website www.rcmp.ca where you will find lots of information on crime prevention including fraud. Some people don’t know but protecting yourself can also be as easy as flagging your SIN number with our credit monitoring agencies like Equifax and TransUnion who, if you activate this service, will call you to confirm that you are applying for credit once they receive a request. This sometimes delays credit applications a day or two but it’s a small price to pay for the piece of mind.
Unfortunately some of our most vulnerable victims are the elderly who don’t always understand new technology or the risks involved in providing information so it’s important to talk to our loved ones about fraud. These crimes are notoriously difficult to solve given the technical and logistical issues involved so prevention is key.
As always, if you’re not sure you can give us a call and we’ll talk it out with you. Stay safe.
*Cop Corner is written by S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi of the Bonnyville RCMP Detachment. The author’s original content has not been altered.