Identity theft occurs when someone steals personal information such as your name, identity card number or credit card number, so that they can pretend to be someone else. This is usually done in order to gain access to finances, get medical benefits, to avoid the police, or to commit other crimes.

How can identity thieves find your personal information?

  • By observing users typing in their login credentials, credit card numbers, etc.
  • By going through your trash, someone would have access to your personal information from documents such as receipts or bills.
  • Credit or debit card information could be stolen by using a small electronic device when processing your card, for example, by putting a skimmer over the card clot of an ATM.
  • By pretending to be a financial institution or company, someone could send spam or pop-up messages to fool you into revealing your information.
  • Some users publish personal details on social networks, such as age/birthdate, location, phone number, email address, job, family details and photos.
  • When someone steals your wallet, purse, mail, cheques or mobile phone, they have easy access to your personal information such as identity card (IC), credit/debit card, home address, etc.

Best practices

  • Instead of throwing them away, shred unwanted documents that contain personal or financial information. This includes bills and credit card receipts.
  • Look out for card skimmers when withdrawing your money at an ATM.
  • Check your credit/debit card statements carefully and often.
  • Don’t respond to emails, text or phone calls that are requesting your personal information.
  • Change your username and passwords frequently.
  • Always be attentive to your surroundings.

If you are a victim of identity theft:

  • If you are being impersonated on a social network, you can report it to the website itself.
  • Make sure to save any evidence you have to prove that someone is using your identity.
  • If you suspect that your credit card number has been stolen, report it immediately to your bank.
  • If necessary, file a police report.
  • If you have lost your passport or IC, report it to the Police and Immigration Department.

Tags: Identity Theft