In Toronto, identity theft, also known as identity fraud, occurs when you commit a crime using someone else’s personal information without their knowledge or consent. Credit or debit card details are commonly stolen personal information. Retaining a skilled criminal defence attorney is crucial if you or a loved one faces identity theft.
What Perpetrators Do With Stolen Information
After perpetrators steal personal information, they could use it for theft or fraud. With this identity stolen, criminals can:
- Open new bank accounts.
- Access existing accounts to withdraw money.
- Transfer bank balances.
- Apply for loans or credit cards in your name.
- Buy goods/ services.
- Apply for a passport or other government benefits in your name.
- Have your mail forwarded to their address.
- Rent an apartment in your name.
- Set up utility services like hydro and cable.
- Alter the passwords and contact details for your online accounts.
How Perpetrators Steal Personal Information
Identity theft affects many people without their knowledge. Criminals can steal personal information in many ways. Phishing is one strategy that identity thieves employ. Fraudsters steal victims’ personal information by posing as someone they know, for example, a bank, employer, or lender. The criminal makes calls, sends emails, or uses phony websites to find new victims.
Everyday activities such as shopping online, surfing the web, publishing on social media sites, sending and receiving emails and texts, and online banking could result in the theft of personal information.
The following are ways in which criminals steal personal information:
- Stealing wallets or purses of unsuspecting victims.
- Breaking into victims’ vehicles.
- Stealing victims’ emails that contain utility bills and bank statements.
- Hacking online accounts.
- Utilizing free wifi to access information on victims’ smartphones and computers.
- Checking the recycle bin on victims’ gadgets for personal documents.
- Altering ATMs at shops to steal victims’ financial data.
- Searching for personal information in public databases, for example, social media.
The largest frauds could involve bank and government security lapses. Major causes of these frauds include the following:
- Computer systems invasions.
- Access to data databases by fraudulent employees allows them to commit fraud, like creating credit cards using real people’s personal information.
- Inadequate security software breaches result from the transfer of information and incorrect storage or destruction of personal information.
If accused of identity theft, and you want to fight for your rights, contact a Toronto criminal lawyers firm and begin building strong defences.
The Types Of Information That Perpetrators Can Steal
- Name, address, and contact information.
- Date of birth and registration information.
- Usernames and passwords for websites.
- Numbers on credit cards.
- PIN codes and bank accounts.
- Passport data.
- Driver’s license.
- The Social Security Number.
- Information about other government accounts.
How To Know If You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft
If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, look out for these warning signs:
- Collection companies contact you on transactions you didn’t make or accounts you didn’t open.
- You receive calls from creditors telling you the credit you haven’t applied for has been accepted or denied.
- Your credit report reveals behaviour you are unfamiliar with, such as debt or false information about when you paid your obligations on time or not at all.
- When you apply for credit cards or loans, you are unexpectedly rejected.
- You see activity on your bank or financial statements, such as withdrawals or transactions you didn’t make.
What to Do If You are a Victim of Identity Theft
You should take several steps if you are a victim of identity theft to report it and avoid it from happening further. Following these steps could help you retrieve your identification and credit:
- Make a list of all stolen data, including credit card numbers, bank account details, and government identification numbers.
- Give copies of the police report to every institution that may have been involved in the theft, for example, your bank or credit card company, and report any identity theft or fraud to the police.
- Inform the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) of identity theft or fraud.
- Review your information by obtaining copies of your credit reports from Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. Then alert lenders about any irregularities, including accounts that already exist but that you did not open.
- Alert creditors, for example, credit card firms, to warn you before creating any new accounts in your name and request that a “Fraud Warning” be posted on your credit file with Equifax and TransUnion. Your file will hold onto this for six years.
- Notify each financial institution promptly after losing or having your bank or credit cards stolen, suspend all your current cards and accounts, and obtain new ones.
- If you suspect your mail has been sent to another address, contact Canada Post.
- Keep a record of any conversations you have had with law enforcement, your bank, or any other organizations regarding the theft.
It is great to get help from a fraud recovery specialist if you find out you have been a victim of fraud. Retaining a skilled criminal defence attorney as quickly as possible is crucial if you have been accused of identity theft, fraud, or any other criminal offence.