Theft or Fraud – What’s Your Poison?

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When it comes to identity theft and identity fraud, many people use the terms interchangeably. However, they do not refer to the same crime. We at First Stop Services have outlined the distinct differences between the two to help you better identify these crimes and remain safe.

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Identity Theft:

The act of gaining personal information to impersonate. Often, a person’s personal information is used for financial gain (i.e., open credit card accounts or cell phone plans) or to gain access to your existing accounts.

Examples of information needed to impersonate you:

  • SIN number
  • Credit card account information
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your mother’s maiden name
  • Passwords
  • Birthdate

Who are the victims of identity theft? When it comes to identity theft, there is more than one victim. Besides the person who had his or her personal information exploited, merchants are also victims.

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Identity Fraud:

The act of creating a fictitious person, including fictitious personal information, to open new lines of credit.

Examples of falsified and fraudulent documents or actions:

  • Withdrawals
  • Transactions
  • Bank accounts
  • Load applications
  • Credit card accounts

Who are the victims of identity fraud? Here, the victim is the merchant. They include, but are not limited to, the lenders, credit card companies, merchants, and organization. Of course, the fictitious person is not affected.

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**Remember: theft can occur over the internet, telephone, fax, or regular mail. As such, it is essential to dispose of your sensitive information accordingly. Trash bins are goldmines for identity thieves, be sure you shred.

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According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, if you or someone you know believes that are or have been a victim of identity theft, these are the steps you should take:

  1. Contact your local police force and file a report.
  2. Contact your bank or financial institution and credit card company
  3. Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
    a. Equifax Canada
    b. TransUnion Canada
  4. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

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Always report identity theft and fraud.

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this write-up is provided for educational purposes and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Please consult your attorney or financial adviser regarding your own personal situation.


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