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What is Identity Theft and How Can you Protect Yourself

By Clea Spahn

The internet and electronic data has made it easier for your identity to be stolen.

Identity theft is when your personal details are used for illegal purposes. There are a number of ways that this can occur. You can have your wallet stolen, or someone may steal financial information from your trash. The more popular cases come to us via the news because they usually involve groups of people.

Much of this takes place in the online environment. Scams such as skimming, phishing, and hacking allow criminals and organized crime to gather profiles of potential victims. It is almost a weekly occurrence to receive warnings about computer spyware and viruses that are specifically designed to target your personal information.

While man of these scams are laughable to the average savvy surfer, there are many vulnerable targets, including the elderly that are falling prey to more believable scams.

Putting the Pieces Together

What is shocking sometimes is that thieves don’t need a lot of information to gather additional information. In other words, they can begin with one or two items, then build a profile of you and start to get other information. People are more willing to provide information over the phone, for example, when you can identify one or two personal mentions of note. This could allow someone to secure that key piece of information that leads to more doors opening up and eventually the complete theft of your identity.

What Can Thieves Do When they Have your Information

Having money removed from your account could be devastating but it would not necessarily be the worst thing that could happen. Sadly, they can ruin you today and in the future. Our credit score follows us everywhere and significantly impacts our financial life. This can seemingly take forever to get you back where you were.

Again, the news is filled with stories of people having new bank accounts opened in their name; they have outstanding loans or credit cards that they never secured; they made purchases of large ticket items that they never actually did themselves.

What’s the Best Way to Protect Yourself

First, be very wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you. That’s a big red flag. No reputable business or bank is going to ask you for that information without providing you with some security assurances. Always ere on the side of caution – if you are not sure if your financial institution is actually on the phone with you, insist that you will meet with someone down at your local branch. Any reluctance on the other end of the phone would indicate or suggest that this may not be a genuine call.

Common sense will go along way to prevent the more common ways of theft. Protect your PIN when using a bank machine. Change your online passwords frequently and use some level of complexity in those passwords. Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage.

How Can Insurance Help?

Yes, you can secure identity theft and financial loss coverage. It’s extremely affordable and it’s being added to home insurance policies more and more these days. It would help pay for any financial losses you incur because your identity was stolen.

We offer the only BC Tenant Insurance policy that can be truly tailored to your needs. Get a quote and purchase a policy online or by phone. Or Visit our BC Tenant Insurance video.

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Topics: Identity Theft | Comments Off

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Spahn, Clea "What is Identity Theft and How Can you Protect Yourself." What is Identity Theft and How Can you Protect Yourself. 17 Aug. 2012. 2 Aug 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Spahn, C (2012, August 17). What is Identity Theft and How Can you Protect Yourself. Retrieved August 2, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Spahn, Clea "What is Identity Theft and How Can you Protect Yourself"

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