Identity Theft If your personal information is stolen, criminals can use it in elaborate schemes, including insurance fraud. Learn how to safeguard your identity. 7 Ways Identity is StolenPhishing techniques or Internet hacking strategies collect your personal information.You respond to an unsolicited phone call or email from someone claiming to be from your credit card company.Someone watches while you enter your PIN at a store or ATM and then steals your wallet.Personal information on receipts and mail is scavenged from your recycling bin.Your car is broken into and identification documents from your glove-box are stolen.A stolen vehicle permit is used to ship a stolen car out of the country.Stolen insurance information is used to make false insurance claims or even take out a mortgage against your property.What Identity Thieves Look ForThese criminals seek personal information to impersonate you and access your bank accounts, secure new credit cards, make purchases and pursue other criminal activities. Safeguard documents in your home or at a secure off-site location, such as a safe-deposit box. Safeguard:PassportsInternet passwordsBank account and social insurance numbersCredit card information.1Signs that your Identity has been StolenVictims of identity theft may receive a letter advising them that they have been approved or denied credit that they never applied for. Mail – credit card statements or other documents – suddenly go missing. Collection agencies start calling about accounts that were fraudulently opened.2Prevent Identity Theft through your VehicleAlways roll up your vehicle’s windows, lock the doors, activate the security alarm and pocket the key – even if your vehicle is sitting in the drivewayLock your gas tank capKeep your vehicle registration certificate and proof of insurance with you at all timesNever leave valuable objects with identifying information or packages in full view; instead, put them in the trunkAlways park your vehicle in a well-lit spotBe aware of suspicious people, activities or vehicles in your neighbourhood and report them to policeKnow the location of your car keys at all times. 1,2 Sources: Identity Theft and Identity FraudCanadian Anti-Fraud Centre Related ServicesInflating ClaimsInflating or exaggerating the extent of an insurance claim is a crime. Insurance crime increases insurers’ claims costs and, ultimately, costs everyone in the form of higher premiums.Restoration FraudIf insurance is paying for contractors to fix damage to your home, be aware of restoration fraud. A vendor may overbill for the job under the assumption that your insurance company will pay the full amount. Recognize signs of potential fraud and never pay up front. Useful LinksBuying Home InsuranceAs a homeowner, you need to insure your house for replacement costs so that in the event of serious damage or destruction you have adequate coverage. Be sure to keep your home insurance current by reporting material changes or upgrades.Home Inventory ApplicationA current inventory of your belongings makes it easier to file a claim. Keeping your records off-site is wise in case a fire or flood damages your property. Consider updating your home inventory each spring and advise your insurer of any major purchases.