Identity crime occurs when a criminal obtains and uses the victim’s personally identifiable information (PII) without the victim’s permission to disguise his/her identify or assist others to disguise their identity through fraudulent activities. Traditionally, PII is includes information such as name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and passport number. With new-age technology, many biometrics are also used as PII to authenticate one’s identity. This would include pupils, face ID, thumbprint, and voice.
Research reveals that identity crime has been linked to a variety of fraudulent transactions and cybercrimes. The Calgary Police Service advise the public to take identity crimes seriously and report fraudulent activity immediately.
Why is identity crime a growing concern?
With advancements in technology, many aspects of society have changed. In a race to increase convenience to the public, many technologies begin to rely on PII for quick access to information and transactions. This provides a greater variety of information that may represent one’s identity, which in turn creates more information that people need to safeguard.
- Be cautious of passing information to unknown callers or email senders.
- Speak minimally over a voice call to minimize the possibility of recording your voice.
- Avoid opening emails and clicking on weblinks that come from an unknown sender.
- Feel free to disconnect the unsolicited communication anytime, whether it is a phone call, email or messages from a chat application.
Detection of identity crime
Indicators an identity crime has occurred:
- Notification of credit or service application via a phone call, mail or email which a victim did not apply for.
- Cease to receive notifications or statements from existing services or credit providers.
- Contacted by collection agency on outstanding amounts.
- Unauthorized transactions that require identity information (e.g. credit card), even though the fund is incoming.
- Unrecognized entries on credit report.
- Notification by law enforcement.
What to do if you are a victim of identity theft
The following are steps to take if you are a victim of identity crime:
- Log the dates, time and person that you have interacted with in relation to the identity crime.
- Call 9-1-1 for any crimes in progress or life exigent circumstances. Otherwise, call the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or report a crime online.
- Obtain a police case number.
- Notify all affected service providers and financial institutions and provide the police case number.
- Report the identity crime to major credit reporting agencies such as Equifax and TransUnion.
You should also consider taking these additional steps:
- Report the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or through the toll-free numbers at 1-888-495-8501 or 1-888-654-9426.
- Change your passwords.