Fraud series: 7 insights - What’s your identity worth?

The personally identifiable information stored in your brain, together with the payment data on your cards represent significant economic power.

You don't have a second official identity. No backup. No alternative. Your identity is valuable for anything from getting free healthcare to buying a house. Protect your Social Insurance Number (SIN) and other pieces of information designed to identify you and you alone.

Here is a series of tips to keep your personal information under wraps:

  1. Missing a statement in the mail? Follow up and make sure you get it. Be a stickler for billing cycles.
  2. No personal info on the phone. Ever. Unless you initiate the contact (and even then...)
  3. Avoid using trivial passwords. Avoid sharing them with anyone and between services/cards.
  4. Be aware of what personal information goes into the garbage. Dumpster diving thieves are not above picking through your waste. Shred it if you can.
  5. Carry fewer payment cards. Keep your ID similarly safe and with minimal personal data.
  6. Ask to use other identifiers just to avoid giving your SIN or driver's license.
  7. Before giving out any personal information, find out how it will be used and whether it will be shared. Request a copy of the policy.
The personally identifiable information stored in your brain, together with the payment data on your cards represent significant economic power. Be aware of the risk. Take your time and picture the hundreds of hours it takes to recover from identity theft. That should motivate you to be disciplined about sharing PII.

About the Author

Claudiu Popa


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