Six Things you should know about avoiding identity theft

  1. At less than $200, a paper shredder should be as common in today's household as a microwave.  Shred personalized junk mail, ABM deposit and withdrawal slips, old bank statements and other documents before throwing them into the recycling bin.
  2. Reconcile bank statements and match credit-card purchases with your monthly statement. Often, identity thieves thrive because people don't notice small purchases or other anomalies on their statements.  A $10 purchase might slip through, but if 1,000 people had the same $10 purchase, that's $10,000.
  3. Pay attention if a monthly statement or document you're expecting in the mail goes missing.  Somebody looking to impersonate might redirect some of your mail or lift it from your mailbox.
  4. Be wary of telemarketers, Web sites an de-mail messages that ask for personal information.  Verify whether the company's legitimate.  Ask why this information is needed.  You can say no.  The burden of proof is on them, not you.  The same goes for job applications employers need your SIN only after you're hired.
  5. Have a separate credit card with a preset spending limit, say $500, that's used for Internet transactions only.  Have an e-mail account set up specifically for registering for a service or buying an item online.
  6. Act quickly if you think you're a victim of identity theft.  You can start by contacting on the Web or calling them at 1-888-495-8501.