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The Woes of Identity Theft

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When I received a phone call the other day from someone claiming to be from the Canadian Revenue Service and telling me that I was going to be arrested for tax evasion, it shook me up for a few minutes!! Then stopping for a moment to really think about it, I knew it must be a scam.  I called the police and indeed, it was/is a scam, facilitated offshore and very hard for the police to track, let alone prosecute.

Our world is really so small now and everything seems to be digitalized; very confusing for many … especially the elderly.  We hear on our news of large corporations, banks and even CRA being hacked. Criminals used to steal personal details from garbage cans and dumpsters but now they’re much more sophisticated.  Although phone scams continue to be happening, today’s methods also include chat rooms, social media, personal networking sites, phishing, email scams and hacking.  We all need to do our part to stay a jump ahead of the criminals.  Below are a few suggestions to help protect your financial reputation:

  • Be extremely careful of when/who you give your Social Insurance Number to.  In a calendar year it is always important to check your credit reports a few times to be sure every entry is actually yours .  Scrutinize your reports to be sure that no one else is pretending to be you
  • You must create different, strong passwords of 10 characters (or more) for each online site you use.  Whether on your personal devices or at a checkout at the store or even a banking machine … you are online!!!   Your birthdate, or your children’s, or the name of your dog really are NOT very secure.  You need to create passwords that contain a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Keep your anti-virus program up-to-date to deter malware and Trojan horses from infecting your computer, tablet or cell phone.  Password protect all devices !
  • Make sure to erase (or destroy completely) your hard drive or SIM card before getting rid of your old computer, your tablet or cell phone.
  • Beware of phishing schemes which direct victims to very legitimate looking sites that ask for personal info.  Know the signs!!!    You will now find that https: and those “padlock” icons are NO guarantee that a site is secure, as even these are now being forged.  If you have any suspicions at all, ALWAYS call your provider to be sure that they have contacted you in an email (whether that is your lending institution, CRA, phone company, hydro, etc. etc). Never “click on” or “reply” to these communicates without calling your provider to find out if whatever personal information they are asking for, is actually a legitimate request
  • Be sure to keep an eye on all of your financial statements.  Remember to always SHRED any of your personal documents before you put them out for the trash
  • Banks and insurance companies now provide “Identity Theft Insurance”.  There are mixed opinions on the value of this service so do your research.

Each one of us must be vigilant as once your identity has been compromised, it takes a lot of time and frustration to undo the havoc the criminals have wrecked on your good name.  If you are following these common senses suggestions, it will make it easier to defend yourself. Also, be very careful when using social media.  If you’re aware of online criminal methods, you’ll be in a much better position to defend yourself.  Unfortunately, these criminals specialize in stealing your identity so prevention and common sense are key!

As life-long residents, Chad and Scott are  so familiar with this area as well as our brisk market.  They would be honored to be your local market specialist and can best assist you with your specific needs. If  YOU are thinking of calling this beautiful area home or perhaps want to have your own vacation retreat in Wasaga Beach, please contact  Brokers, Scott (705-446-6602  or Chad (705-423-9444 or  the Campbell Team would feel privileged to help make your Wasaga Dream come true.  Contact us today!

Linda Campbell
Marketing Manager for The Campbell Team