How you identify yourself to others, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, where you live, work, and bank each says something and if you’re not careful, you could lose it all. According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s (RCMP) Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC):
- In 2008, there were 12,309 victims of identity fraud in Canada, with a total reported loss of about $9.7 billion; and
- In 2012, there were 17,009 incidents and nearly $16 billion in losses.
It’s a problem that is showing no sign of decreasing any time soon so how do you protect yourself, and is insurance the answer. Since 1969, MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. has and continues protecting you, your family and your business. It’s what we do in Edmonton and Northern Alberta, and part of that effort includes ensuring you have the information you need to make safe and smart decisions in all aspects of your life. It’s why we offer comprehensive insurance policies including home, auto & life insurance. We understand the importance of protecting your confidential information, and offer the following advice to help prevent identity theft. Additionally, if you contact us, we can work with you to find a homeowners insurance policy that covers your needs, this includes options that feature identity theft protection.
It is important to know what exactly is meant by identity theft and identity fraud. According to the RCMP: Identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. As of January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became law, making it illegal to possess another person’s identity information for criminal purposes. Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds (including for example personating another person and the misuse of debit card or credit card data).
How can this happen? Identity theft techniques can range from the unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes. Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spywares and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend. Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their ‘good name’.
To protect against these methods, it’s important to keep all confidential information safe.
- Any mail that contains personal information should be disposed of carefully.
- Be sure that you are using a secure connection when providing personal information online.
- Examine the card slots of any machines you are putting your credit cards into
- Always be cautious if anyone is asking for your personal information online or over the phone.
A January 2015 CBC News report notes that it’s not easy to track how many Canadians currently have fraud insurance. The reported noted that while Canadian banks are pretty good at reimbursing you, the inconvenience and administrative costs of resolving fraud make added coverage a sensible option. While many insurance firms provide fraud coverage as a standalone product for a monthly premium, some companies also offer it as a rider on larger asset coverage, such as home or auto insurance, which is generally cheaper and basically gives you the same coverage.
The best way to protect yourself is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you’re a victim of identity theft, tell your financial institutions, credit issuers, and local police of the theft as soon as you can.
To discuss if identity theft protection is part of your policy or if you need a separate rider, contact MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd. at 780-436-7880 today for a free personalized quote from our list of preferred insurance companies in Edmonton. We protect you every step of the way. For after-hours service, please use our emergency claim contact numbers.