Mail box overflowing with mail, bills, junk mail and other unwanted correspondence

Stay alert: Watch out for these signs of identity theft

It can be hard to tell if your personal information has been stolen. Pay attention to these red flags.

Mail box overflowing with mail, bills, junk mail, e-mails and other unwanted correspondenceAn influx of mail from unusual sources or financial institutions is a possible indicator you’re a victim of identity theft (Shuttertsock/fishysam)

People tend not to find out that they’re a victim of identity theft until it’s too late—they’re just not alert enough or watching for warning signs, says Jessica Gunson, acting call centre and intake unit manager at the RCMP’s Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. According to CPA Canada’s 2019 Fraud Study, a strong majority of Canadians (86 per cent) are familiar with identity theft and 69 per cent of respondents said that it was still a concern for them.

If you want to know whether your information has been stolen, keep an eye out for signs, says Gunson. Here are the red flags to watch out for:

  • You get a call from a credit card company about an account you didn’t open
  • You see an influx of mail from unusual sources or financial institutions
  • You notice mail is missing, which could be a sign that it’s being redirected
  • You notice unusual charges on your credit card statement 
  • You get called by collections to pay unfamiliar bills
  • An application for credit is denied, even though you think you have a good credit score 

“There are a lot of warning signs,” says Gunson. “But you have to be paying attention in order to see them.” 


Read 4 things you need to know about identity theft right now to understand how scammers target victims and how you can protect yourself.  

You can also learn how to recognize signs of fraud and what to do if you’re a victim by requesting a financial literacy session with a CPA Canada volunteer.