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Canadian Identity Theft Statistics and What You Can Do Thumbnail

Canadian Identity Theft Statistics and What You Can Do

In our increasingly digital age, personal information stored and shared online raises the threat of identity theft. Alarmingly, 97% of Canadians “feel vulnerable to fraudsters and identity theft.”1

Let’s take a look at the current state of identity theft in Canada, explore the factors contributing to its prevalence, and, most importantly, provide practical steps you can take to safeguard your identity.

The Landscape of Canadian Identity Theft

Identity theft involves the unauthorized use of an individual’s personal information, often for financial gain. In Canada, identity theft has risen in recent years, posing a significant challenge for individuals, businesses, and law enforcement.

According to Statista, there was a 35% increase in identity theft between 2019 and 2020.2 In 2020, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre observed approximately $165 million in reported victim losses, and in 2021, these losses drastically increased to $379 million.3 These numbers underscore the need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to mitigate the risks of such theft.

These numbers underscore the need for heightened awareness and proactive measures to mitigate the risks.

Factors Contributing to Identity Theft in Canada

Several factors contribute to identity theft in Canada. Here are the most common ones:

Digital Transformation
The rise of digitalization has brought unparalleled convenience but also increased vulnerabilities. Online transactions, social media, and digital communication channels create numerous entry points for cybercriminals to exploit.

Data Breaches
High-profile data breaches have become alarmingly common, exposing millions of Canadians’ personal information. When organizations fail to secure their databases, it provides cybercriminals with a treasure trove of sensitive data to carry out identity theft.

Sophisticated Scams
Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated in their methods, using advanced phishing techniques, social engineering, and malware to trick individuals into divulging personal information.

Dark Web Trade
Stolen identities are often traded on the dark web, making it challenging for authorities to trace and apprehend those responsible. The anonymity offered by the dark web facilitates a thriving marketplace for stolen personal information.

Protecting Your Identity: Practical Steps for Canadians

As we look at the statistics surrounding identity theft in Canada, the main goal is to educate citizens on how to protect themselves. The statistics may sound scary, but there are many things you can do to protect your identity.

Monitor Your Accounts Regularly
Stay vigilant by regularly checking your bank statements, credit reports, and online accounts for any suspicious activity. Promptly report any unauthorized transactions to your financial institution.

Use Strong, Unique Passwords

Create complex passwords for your online accounts, and avoid using the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a reputable password manager to help you keep track of your credentials securely.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Add an extra layer of security to your accounts by enabling 2FA. This typically involves receiving a code on your mobile device that you must enter in addition to your password.

Educate Yourself About Phishing
Be cautious of emails, messages, or calls requesting personal information. Legitimate organizations will not ask for sensitive information through unsolicited communication. Verify the authenticity of such requests through official channels.

Secure Your Devices
Keep your devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets, updated with the latest security patches and antivirus software. Use encryption features to protect sensitive data.

Shred Personal Documents
Dispose of physical documents containing personal information by shredding them before discarding them. This includes old bank statements, utility bills, and other sensitive paperwork.

Be Mindful of Social Media
Limit the personal information you share on social media platforms. Adjust privacy settings to control who can view your profile, and be cautious about accepting friend requests or connections from unknown individuals.

Regularly Check Your Credit Report
Obtain and review your credit report at least once a year to identify any unusual activity. This can be done through credit reporting agencies such as Equifax or TransUnion.

As identity theft continues to rise in Canada, individuals must be proactive in protecting their personal information. By staying informed about the current landscape of identity theft, recognizing potential risks, and implementing practical security measures, Canadians can reduce their vulnerability to identity theft.

  1. https://financialpost.com/executive/executive-summary/canadians-fighting-back-identity-theft-scams
  2. https://www.statista.com/statistics/544904/identity-theft-rate-canada/
  3. https://publications.gc.ca/site/archivee-archived.html?url=https://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2022/grc-rcmp/PS61-46-2021-eng.pdf

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.