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Identity Theft and Identity Fraud

Protect Your Identity


(lead in)

(Background music)

(Movie reel moving)

Identity theft doesn't just happen in the movies

(Map of Canada and clock)

It affects millions of people each year and can just as easily happen to you.

(Blinking eye, pictures of wallet, credit card and check book)

In a blink of an eye your personal information can become, well, not so personal.

(Hands holding binocular and sign falls in from top saying "Not so Personal")

(Robber walking in with a flashlight toward a computer screen with personal information)

(Police line tape and person looking sad)

Identity thieves steal your credit and good name to commit crimes that can ruin the rest of your life

(Id tags drop in with a picture of a file folder, check book, credit card, and shopping cart)

With your identity, they can easily open new bank accounts, obtain credit cards and loans for major purchases or binge shopping.

(Canada flag flapping, picture of passport, and person standing in front of a hospital looking sad)

They can even use your identity to get passports and government support!

(Credit card, passport, and check book fly in. Safe appears over top of the items then they are moved into the safe)

Keep your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

(Computer screen with Sin, date of birth and credit card numbers on it that are Xs only. Zoom out to see a person sitting on a computer, and a robber sitting in front on another computer)

Carry the least possible ID with you and never give out personal information unless you know who you're giving it to and why.

(Map of Canada with people popping up all over it. A button appears with the words "Take Charge")

Identity theft is on the rise and can easily happen to anyone So take charge Don't let it ruin your life.

( HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN IN RIGHT OF CANADA as represented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

(RCMP wordmark with the web site address

(Canada wordmark)

View a high resolution version of the video on the RCMP YouTube channel

Recognize it

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else's personal information for criminal purposes. As of January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became law, making it illegal to possess another person's identity information for criminal purposes.

What is Identity Fraud?

Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds (including for example personating another person and the misuse of debit card or credit card data).


  • Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.
  • Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spywares and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.
  • Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their "good name".
  • The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) maintains statistics on the complaints they receive.
  • In 2009, the CACF received identity fraud reports from 11,095 Canadian victims, totaling a loss of more than 10 million dollars. This represents an increase of more than 1 million dollars of what was reported in 2008. Payment card fraud was the most commonly reported incident, and yet, many instances of identity theft and fraud go unreported.

Information sought

Identity thieves are looking for the following information:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • Social Insurance Numbers
  • full address
  • mother's maiden name
  • username and password for online services
  • driver's license number
  • personal identification numbers (PIN)
  • credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the signature panel)
  • bank account numbers
  • signature
  • passport number

The new legislation on identity theft provides a complete list of identity documents.

The new section 402.1 of the Criminal Code lists the definition and examples of identity information.

What your information could be used for

Criminals can use your stolen or reproduced personal or financial information to:

  • access your bank accounts
  • open new bank accounts
  • transfer bank balances
  • apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services
  • make purchases
  • hide their criminal activities
  • obtain passports or receive government benefits

Using identity theft to facilitate organized criminal and terrorist activities also appears to be a growing trend.

How can you find out if your identity was stolen

The best way to find out is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.

Report it

If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information:

  • Step 1 - Contact your local police force and file a report.
  • Step 2 - Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company
  • Step 3 - Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Step 4 - Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Stop it

Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime:

  • Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.
  • Ask yourself if you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don't need and keep them in a secure place instead.
  • Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.
  • During transactions, it's safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.
  • Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.
  • Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.
  • Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.
  • Trash bins are a goldmine for identity thieves. Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage.
  • When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your bank and credit card companies).