Your trash can put you at risk for identity theft – what to do about it

by | Feb 26, 2024 | Finance and Business

Whether you’re doing a little spring cleaning or sorting through your “important paper” drawer, don’t just toss your personal information in the recycling bin or trash.

Believe it or not, some scammers will check your recycling and trash for private information to use for identity theft. It can happen to anyone.

Identity theft is a serious issue, and it happens more than you might realize. Depending on what you toss, fraudsters can gather personal and financial information, like credit card numbers, old tax returns, user IDs, passwords, banking statements and even a handwritten signature.

With this information, they might attempt to file a fake tax return or apply for government benefits in your name.

To avoid becoming a victim of scams and fraud, protect yourself and your personal information.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Before tossing, shred all paper copies of tax-related documents, especially those with your social insurance number on them.
  2. Don’t forget to be mindful of the clutter. Only keep paper records and documents related to your tax returns for six years. Don’t let them pile up.
  3. To stay safe, regularly check and update your personal information online using your Canada Revenue Agency “My Account.” If you notice changes to your personal information that you didn’t make, contact the CRA immediately.

While clearing out your paperwork can feel like a good accomplishment, it’s important to protect your personal information during the process.

Find more tips on how to protect yourself from scams and fraud at canada.ca/be-scam-smart

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