Protecting your identity should be one of your top priorities. It is your personal information that provides access to your bank accounts, credit report, government records and more.
In the event of digital identity theft, a malicious person can steal your social insurance number (SIN), banking information or driver’s license. They can then withdraw money from your accounts without your knowledge and even apply for credit on your behalf.
Thousands of Canadians are victims of identity theft every year. Here is how to minimize the risks and consequences.
In 2019, all of Desjardins’ customers, or 4.2 million people, were reportedly victims of data theft. In 2020, the Canadian Emergency Benefit (CEP) program, created to financially support individuals who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19, has become a bonanza for cyber fraudsters. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center (CCA), the number of victims rose from 300 at the end of July 2020 to nearly 2,600 in August.
In a digital era, cyber thieves are continually trying to find new ways to access your personal information; whether through your social networks, when you log into a banking session or when you shop online.
Credit reporting companies like Equifax offer credit monitoring packages that can protect you. However, the consequences are not limited to direct financial losses. There is also the damage to your credit report and to your reputation. Several months of work and significant personal expenses are often required to restore the situation back to normal.
What to do to prevent identity fraud?
Create unique passwords for each website
Do not use your birthday or your dog’s name when it comes to creating a password. It is in fact the easiest information for cyber fraudsters to decipher. Intact Insurance suggests the following:
- Create passwords that are at least eight characters long with a combination of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Never write a password down next to the username it is associated with.
- Subscribe to an online password manager (such as Last Pass or the one in Google Chrome browser).
Lock your electronic devices (phone, tablet, computer)
Most operating systems like iOS and Android provide the ability to protect your devices with your fingerprint, encryption code, password, or even facial recognition. Take the opportunity to add a protection filter to your identity!
Beware of phishing
Have you received a text message that appears to come from an institution like the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or your bank? Beware, it could be a phishing attempt.
According to the Canadian Bankers Association, the CRA and banks can send you text messages, but will never ask you to click on a link. In such a case, it is suggested to block the sender.
Phishing has been even more common since Covid-19 and as part of the PCU/CRB. Identity thieves could obtain financial aid on your behalf. However, do not wait until you are personally affected by this scourge before acting. For peace of mind, you can purchase insurance covering digital identity theft.
This protection generally covers financial losses due to fraud and helps you restore your identity in the event of theft.
What is Identity theft insurance?
Identity theft insurance is a great option if you are worried about being a victim of fraud. In the event of a cyber-attack, it allows you to suffer as few negative consequences as possible.
While this insurance does not prevent cybercrime from happening, it will protect you if you do. On one hand, protection can offer you specialized support to re-establish your identity and reimburse some legal fees. On the other hand, it can cover the costs of the theft itself, such as lost wages caused by your absence from work to resolve the situation.
A more extensive policy can also reimburse you for amounts stolen from your bank accounts up to a certain limit.
Who is identity theft insurance for?
In an increasingly digital world, cyber fraud can strike any web user. Identity theft insurance can be added to your home insurance or can be purchased independently.
This protection is for all individuals. It can be beneficial to all Canadians, who are recognized as some of the world’s most avid Internet users.
When and why take out this protection?
The best time to purchase identity theft insurance is… before you become a victim of identity theft!
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant economic challenges, which creates new opportunities for fraudsters. Identity thieves seem to be finding new ways to launch cyber-attacks every day, despite multiple security measures in place by the government.
As for the cost of identity theft insurance, it is affordable for most families and individuals.
All in all, it is never too late to purchase cyber fraud protection. Prevention is better than cure!
Thinking of protecting yourself against cyber fraud? Contact your Ciccarello Assurance broker now to get a quote.
Still have questions?
Please contact us by phone or email