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Identity theft is on the rise and Canadians are uncertain about the warning signs

As instances of fraud and identity theft have been on the rise with COVID-19, Canadians are equally split on knowing how to spot it.

According to a recent survey commissioned by Johnson Insurance, over half (52 per cent) of Canadians are unable to identify all of the warning signs that they have become a victim of identity theft, when provided with a list of the signs.

Further findings show that 27 per cent of Canadians have noticed an increase in suspicious COVID-19-related activity on fraudulent websites and online advertisements, as well as increased suspicious emails (23 per cent), and text messages or phone calls (20 per cent).

“COVID-19 has created new avenues for identity theft – including applications for the CERB in the name of an identity theft victim,” says Alex Rafuse, Vice President, Home & Auto, Johnson Insurance. “With more people working from home during the pandemic – answering home phone calls or disposing of personal and work-related documents in residential recycling bins – there is a higher than normal susceptibility to fraud.”

The first line of defense against identity theft is prevention. Canadians can take steps to help protect themselves from identity theft with some of the following tips:


  • Use secure passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Use different passwords for all of your accounts, and change them often.
  • Be wary of unsolicited emails that ask you to follow links, login to accounts, or provide personal information.

On the Phone

  • Never provide personal information over the telephone unless you initiate the call, and never provide information via text message to an unknown sender.
  • If asked to call someone back, call the organization the person claims to belong to and confirm that the person works for them.

Around the Home

  • Avoid keeping a written record of your bank account, PIN number(s), social insurance number or card, and computer password(s) out in the open or in a wallet or handbag.
  • Remove mail from the mailbox immediately or keep the mailbox locked.
  • Shred or destroy all personal or sensitive documents before placing them in the recycling bin.

For additional information on identity theft coverage, speak with your broker or agent.

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