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How do I protect myself from identity theft?

How do I protect myself from identity theft?
This question has an answer and 4 steps
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Reviewed: 
December 31, 2016
Answer

You can’t prevent all identity theft but there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of your identity being stolen.

The best way to protect yourself is to make sure that your personal information is as safe as possible. You should be very careful about the information you share online or in person. You should also be careful about how you handle identity documents and financial papers. Learn how to protect your information in the next steps below.

Check your credit history

Equifax and TransUnion are the 2 main consumer reporting agencies in Canada. You can ask them for a copy of your credit report once per year and they have to send a free copy. But, if you order the report online, you may have to pay. Do this every year and make sure the information in it is correct.

Some consumer reporting agencies and companies offer services to keep your identity safe, for a fee. Be aware that you can probably do many of those things yourself at no cost. 

Learn to recognize identity theft

Know some of the warning signs that your identity may be stolen. Step 4 in ‘What is identity theft?’ lists some of them. A stolen identity can make things very difficult for you. If you think your identity has been stolen, you must take action right away.

The sooner you find out your identity has been stolen or used, the less time the thief has to do damage.

A stolen identity can make things very difficult for you. You may have trouble getting approval for things like a bank loan, credit card, or mortgage, or even being able to rent an apartment. It can be very hard to improve your credit rating after a case of identity theft.

You may also have to spend a lot of time:

  • fixing mistakes on your credit report
  • dealing with charges for things you did not buy
  • closing accounts opened in your name

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