The Northwest Territories RCMP say that there is an increase in identity theft fraud and that NWT residents should be aware.
A news release was issued by the police on Monday, warning residents that there have been an increase in reports to the identity theft to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
“While there are no specific numbers being released for the Northwest Territories, the increase has been noticed in all of the provinces and territories,” states the July 6 news release.
“Fraudsters are using stolen personal information to apply for government benefits, credits cards, bank accounts, cell phone accounts or even take over social media and email accounts.”
NNSL Media asked the RCMP in an email if there is an increase in identity theft from last year, why numbers aren’t being released for the NWT, why the issue is being raised now, and how many investigations are underway in the NWT.
That information was not available as of Monday evening.
RCMP are asking residents to be aware of the issue and to be “extra vigilant” if there are issues involving missing bills and other mail, suspicious activity on bank or credit card statements, approval or rejection letters involving credit not applied for, unauthorized applications or accounts on credit reports, or creditor or collection agency calls involving applications or accounts.
Police also state that people should watch for bills from service providers that they do not use as well as information that has been compromised when notified of a database breach.
What can you do?
The RCMP recommends residents take preventative action including rejecting unsolicited emails, phone calls or mail asking for personal or financial information.
People should also be careful about giving out social insurance numbers (SIN) because it is “a key to your identity and credit reports.”
Police also advise to not reply to or click on links in any email that look suspicious.
“Never open an attachment from spam or sender not known to you,” states the news release. “Never use automatic login features that save your username and password. Take the time to re-enter your password each time.”
Residents should also be very careful what information is being sent through email and social networking sites and should use strong passwords.
People should also check their credit reports every year and to obtain a free copy of the report through Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada.
Things that should be reported
The police also provide a list of things that should be reported as they are signs of fraud.
Among them include a lost or stolen wallet.
The RCMP also recommends that if a government identification is gone missing, the issue should be reported to the government agency involved, while re-routed mail requests should be reported to Canada Post.
Any suspicious bank account activity that is suspected should be reported to the financial institution involved.
If people suspect unauthorized activity on their credit reports, this should be reported to Equifax and TransUnion, while a loss of account access should be reported to the appropriate company.
“If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca,” states the news release. “NT RCMP also encourage to report to your local RCMP detachment.”