Frequently asked questions about identity theft

Frequently asked questions about identity theft

Q. What is identity theft?

A. Identity theft occurs when criminals successfully steal personal information (credit card number, driver’s licence number, social insurance number, date of birth, etc.) and access their bank accounts. Using their victim’s personal information, identity thieves can apply for loans, credit cards and other services, as well as buy vehicles, cell phones and even luxury vacations.

Since the invoices for these transactions are sent to another address, victims won’t know that debts are accumulating in their name until collection agencies come knocking.

Identity theft can last for months or even years before being discovered and it can take just as long to sort through the resulting damage.

Q. How can I protect myself from identity theft?

A. When you have to dispose of documents containing personal information (such as account statements), be sure to make the information illegible by shredding the documents.

Nobody—not even a financial institution, police officer, Caisse populaire representative or a merchant is authorized to ask for your PIN or AccèsD password. This information belongs only to you; keep it confidential. Use them only at ATMs, on AccèsD Internet and when using direct payment at a store. Never tell, write or e-mail your access codes or passwords to anyone.

Remember that no transaction can be made on your account without your PIN or AccèsD password. Memorize them and reduce the risk of thieves finding this information in your personal belongings.

Q. How is a person’s identity stolen?

A. Identity thieves are very clever. They use several methods to get your information, particularly:

  • stealing your personal effects, like your wallet, purse or mail;
  • sifting through your garbage to gather enough personal information to steal your identity;
  • doing extensive research online by using your name and what little information they have about you;
  • changing your address without your knowledge in order to get your statements;
  • posing as your landlord or employer to manipulate various organizations into sharing your financial data.

In some cases, identity thieves attempt to gain their victim’s confidence by seeming to be honest about what they are doing. For example, some people may offer their victims money, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand, to temporarily use their identity.

Rest assured that a thief will not keep his word. Once he has your cards and other personal documents, he’ll use them to steal as much as possible from you.

It is illegal and dangerous to allow another person to use your Access Card or any other piece of ID.