To Echoworld Homepage

To Echo Germanica Homepage
December, 2006 - Nr. 12


The Editor
Reason for the Season
Friedliche Weihnacht
Christbaum für alle
A Christmas Dream
An den Christbaum
Die Weihnachtsbäume
10th Christkindl Market Kitchener
Opera York's 10th
K-W & Beyond
Neuer Pastor...
Mozart Celebrations
Der November Vortrag
Remembrance Day in Kitchener
Martini Tanz
Carnival is Back
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Hausmann's New Film
Films Germans are watching
Deutsche Kultur...
National Ballet of Canada
Canada's Postal Elves
Private Schools in Germany
Cardiovascular Disease
Fuel Cells by VW
Mexico Honors Beckenbauer
Klinsmann Not Coaching
Blackout Baby Boom
Identity Theft
Ontario Human Rights
Ontario Benefits from Skills

Identity Theft

   Have you had your identity stolen? People are fearful of having their identity stolen but how do you protect your identity?

We have all heard of the scams relating to ATM machines and criminals obtaining your PIN numbers through micro cameras. These criminals make new debit cards but they are often used months after the information has been obtained. One of the prime times for the thief’s to commit this crime is approaching and during the Christmas Season when the shopping malls and yearly purchases are the highest. Also, there are usually large amounts of monies in your accounts. The easiest way to protect yourself is to change your PIN numbers twice a year at the bank, and when paying with a accredit card, don’t let your credit card out of your sight.

Identity theft is the fastest rising crime today, which is defined as the repeated victimization of a single person. This crime is facilitated through underlying crimes such as forgery, counterfeiting, check/credit card fraud, computer fraud, impersonation, thefts and even terrorism. When this crime takes place, who is the actual victim? Previously police did not regard those who were affected as victims because the credit card companies took the financial loss. The people rarely reported the loss or theft to the police because they knew their losses would be covered. The repeated use of a person’s identity caused serious disruption and emotional damage and more victims suddenly began to report the crime to the police to investigate.

Many catalysts that are directly related to other crime related problems feed this type of crime. Financial crime against the elderly, telemarketing and internet scams, theft of autos aided by fraudulent documentation, theft of wallets and purses, break and enter into homes or business are the avenues the criminals take to obtain your identification. We must not forget the street level crimes of purse snatching or robbery that can turn into a serious violent crime. The essential ingredients in human trafficking are documents and stolen identification for international trafficking in prostitution, illegal labour markets and terrorists.

How do they steal your identification?

Steal wallets/purses; Hack into computers; Steal your mail; Call credit card issuers changing the billing; Rummage trash cans; Buy identities on the street; Posing as a landlord, or employee; Buy counterfeit documents; Bribe employees; Internet identification; Break into homes/business; Use stolen ID to obtain legal ID; Steal PIN numbers and debit cards; gain entry into Governmental agencies; Trick internet users into giving passwords; Steal laptops from vehicles

How do they use your identification?

  • Open a new credit card account (birthday, Social Insurance Number, mothers maiden name is all you need)
  • Produce the ID when charged or arrested for a crime
  • Open a landline or cell phone account and run the bill up for 3 months
  • Open multiple bank accounts, bogus deposits and withdraw cash from ATM
  • Cash in insurance policies, make false claims
  • Auto loans, credit cards or mortgages
  • Fraudulent tax returns
  • Obtain social security benefits

Early warning signs that you are a victim?

You are failing to receive your regular bills or mail to your residence. Follow up with your creditors immediately if your bills don’t arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity theft has taken place and the thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover their tracks.

You receive credit cards that you didn’t apply for; you are denied credit or being offered less favourable credit terms such as a high interest rate for no apparent reason.

Getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services you didn’t purchase.

The most critical factor in limiting the damage to you is time and once you suspect that this crime has taken place, take immediate action to notify all your financial institutions, credit bureau, cancel credit cards and work with your bank to change all your accounts and passwords. Review your credit reports once every three months in the first year of the theft and once a year thereafter.

Even by taking these precautions one is still vulnerable. Common sense and being aware of your surroundings will certainly help to prevent this crime.

Earl Fletcher


To Top of Page

Send mail to  with questions or comments about this web site.
For information about Echoworld Communications and its services send mail to .

Copyright ©2010 Echoworld Communications