As Canadians Become Increasingly Vigilant About Identity Theft, Here are 2 Tips to Consider

7 May 2015

identity theft in Canada is a problem that is only becoming more troublesome with each passing year. As the Toronto Sun reports, the number of Canadians who have fallen victim to identity theft online shot up from 6 percent to 16 percent in just the last year. A separate survey conducted by the Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) of Canada found that 32 percent of all Canadians have already incurred some sort of financial fraud in their lives, and many more fear becoming the next victims.

As the internet continues to weave itself more and more into our lives, becoming a reliable and expansive channel for communication, shopping and banking, that risk of online fraud will only become even more prevalent. Hackers and identity thieves alike are seeing for themselves not only how easy it is to steal someone’s personal and financial information across the web, but how lucrative these crimes can be.

Luckily, there’s a silver lining to this news. As identity theft continues to take its toll on unsuspecting credit holders across the country, more and more people are poised to become aware of the crime and keep an eye out for some of the telltale signs of fraudulent financial activity. If more Canadians are reportedly becoming “very concerned” about the threat that identity fraud poses, then that also means more Canadians are learning how to spot that fraud and work to stop or undo the damage it causes as quickly as possible.

“The strongest foot forward one can take is to learn how not to become a victim in the first place,” Toronto CPA David Malamed tells the Toronto Sun.

To put your own best foot forward, consider these two tips on how to stay one step ahead of identity thieves:

  • Be careful when online shopping: Before hitting that checkout button, make sure the URL begins with “https//:” and is preceded by a small lock or key icon. These are both signs that the website has cyber security protection in place.
  • Keep track of which passwords adhere to which website: Odds are you have more than one online account, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, email or online banking. Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows full well by now that it’s crucial to maintain unique and complex passwords for each of these accounts, but it’s just as important to know which of those passwords corresponds to which account. If you’ve ever found yourself typing one wrong password after another in vain because you’ve forgotten the right one, you may be doing identity thieves a favor. As Malamed notes, “All of those failed attempts are being recorded, most likely at the site you’re trying to enter.” And while they may not be the right password for that particular site, if it’s something you thought to use, there’s a good chance that it’s a password a hacker can match to another one of your accounts.

To help stave off identity theft, consider subscribing to a credit monitoring service that can alert you to certain kinds of activity on your credit file.