Scammers collect or reproduce your personal information to commit fraud.
Video length: 1 minute, 29 seconds
How it works
Using your personal information, thieves can make purchases, obtain passports, receive government benefits, apply for loans, and more.
Fraudsters use techniques that range from unsophisticated to elaborate. Offline, they can go through trash bins or steal mail. Online, they can use spyware, viruses, and other techniques.
They look for credit card information, bank account details, full name and signature, date of birth, social insurance number, full address, mother’s maiden name, online usernames and passwords, driver’s licence number, and passport number.
How to spot it
Monitor your financial accounts frequently and check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.
- Shred and destroy documents with personal information.
- Unless it’s from a trusted source like your bank, never provide your personal information over the phone or via text message, email, or the Internet.
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots like coffee shops to access or provide personal information.
- Create strong and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. Password-protect your devices and home Wi-Fi network.
- Use a secure and reputable payment service when buying online; look for a URL starting with “https” and a closed padlock symbol.
- Avoid giving out personal information online; it can be used along with your pictures to commit fraud.
- Always shield your PIN when using a debit or credit card. If you hand it over to a cashier, never lose sight of it.