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Protecting Yourself From Identity Theft

In this day and age of 24/7 connectivity and social media mania most people are cognizant of the fact that there are people around the world who spend every waking moment trying to figure out ways of parting you with your hard earned money in any way possible.   One way of doing this is to steal the identity of an individual and then taking out loans and mortgages in that person’s name without their knowledge.

As crazy as that may sound to many, and many people still believe that it can never happen to them most are wholly unprepared and under protected from a technology stand point.   Most people are under the impression that by having a simple virus protection system and firewall installed on their computer they are in essence protected. Nothing could be further from the truth. Professional hackers are advanced to levels that are simply too strong for many of the protections offered by most companies.  There are ways to protect yourself that if adhered to make it much more difficult for identity thieves to make any headway and will force them to move on to a less protected person.

One way to protect yourself that many never consider is to protect your incoming mail.   If you have an external mailbox on your house you should ensure that is has a lock you can affix in order to prevent anyone from accessing your incoming bills and credit card statements. Just as you would be sure to shred any confidential documents at work you should also be sure to shred any credit card statements and bills before tossing them in the garbage.   A very popular way for identity thieves to get information is by sifting through the garbage in order to find those types of information. Once a thief gets a hold of a credit card statement or a utility bill they have ways of expanding that info in order to get better details of a person with which they can then build a fake identity with which to access loans and other funds in that person’s name without their knowledge.

Another very good suggestion and one that should be adhered to is to periodically check your credit record to ensure that there is no activity that you are unaware of.   Many people have been surprised to learn from their credit report that they have in fact taken out loans and other revenue generating streams and were not even aware that they had.   This is the work of identity thieves.   As important as it is to be sure to take care of your electronic information stream you must also be sure to take care of all physical paperwork that contain any financial information.

There are too many ways for these technological advanced thieves to obtain information and by making as difficult as possible you will force them to seek an easier target.

 

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
629 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 2S3

Telephone: (416) 398-1700
Fax: (416) 398-6226

Chartered Professional Accountant, Chartered Accountant, Licensed Public Accountant

Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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