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MANAGING THE RISK OF FRAUD

for a potential criminal to get your personal information.

Among the most basic and common things you should do include:

Be sure to buy a shredder and use it to destroy all documents that contain personal information.

Reveal personally identifying information only when absolutely necessary, and, where possible, avoid giving your social insurance number with your date of birth.

Avoid using easily decipherable PIN numbers, such as your address, date of birth, or the last four digits of your social insurance number. Use different PINs or passwords for different accounts.

If you are going on extended vacation or trip for business or pleasure, make sure to have your mail forwarded or kept at the post office and notify the credit agencies to place a temporary freeze on your file.

Detection

Just as important as prevention of identity theft is vigilance in looking for misuse of your information. Remember that timely detection soon after a problem occurs will make dealing with it many times easier than if you find out about it years later. Two basic steps to detect identity theft include:

First, read your existing bank and credit card accounts and be sure to follow up with that company if you find a questionable transaction.

Second, review your credit report at least twice a year. These are available at no charge from Canada's two major national credit reporting agencies.

There is no reason to be paranoid; there’s just reason to be careful.

LEVI & SINCLAIR, LLP

WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS AND YOUR IDENTITY HAS BEEN STOLEN

If you find that you are a victim of potential identity theft, be sure to take action to correct records and protect your name and credit.

STEP 1: Contact the Police

File a report with your local police department and, if the identity theft did not take place within your area, file a report with the police from the area where the theft took place. Make sure to get a copy of the police report. You may need that documentation to support your claims to credit bureaus, creditors, debt collectors, or other companies.

File a report with PhoneBusters (PhoneBusters is a national anti-fraud call centre jointly operated by the Ontario Provincial Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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    www.phonebusters.com).

If you are unable to obtain a copy of the police report, be sure to get the report number.

STEP 2: Closing Accounts

If you notice any accounts under your name that have been tampered with or opened without your consent, close them immediately. The longer that an identity thief has access to these accounts, the more money you could lose.

Call each bank or company and then follow up inwriting. If there are fraudulent charges or debts on your account or if a new account has been opened, you should immediately file a fraud report with your bank’s fraud department.

If a new account has been opened without your knowledge and consent, ask the company with which the account has been opened if they have a fraud department. If they do, file a fraud report with that department. If not, ask if they will accept the Identity Theft Statement available from the PhoneBusters website.

If you close an existing bank account and open a new one, be sure to create new PINs (Personal Identification Numbers) and passwords.

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