The Kirkland Lake OPP is reminding citizens to be careful of identity theft. They say it is a growing crime, and includes illegally getting, or forging, government documents.

Guard Your Personal Information

–       Never give personal information by phone, internet or mail unless you initiate the contact.

–       Shield your debit card PIN and never lend your cards.

–       Report missing credit or debit cards.

–       Shred documents with personal information.

–       Your SIN should only be used for employment and tax information.

Guard Your Computer and its Information

–       Select complex passwords combining letters, numbers and symbols.

–       Install firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware and security software-update often.

–       Don�t buy and don�t reply to spam or emails that ask for banking information.

Signs of ID Theft

–       Purchases not made by you appear on your monthly bills.

–       Bills arrive on accounts you don�t own.

–       Collection agencies call about unknown debt.

–       Credit card/bank statements don�t arrive.

–       Your credit reports show mystery debts.

What to do

–       Call financial institutions and local police.

–       Put a fraud alert on your credit report by contacting Equifax at 1-800-465-7166 and/or Trans Union at 1-877-525-3823.

–       Keep records of steps taken to clear your name and re-establish your credit.

Help Stop Fraud

For information on the types of schemes involved with identity theft, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.