How to Protect Yourself from Identity Theft - Presented by Mortgage Agent Craig Barrett

Craig Barrett shares some tips to help consumers avoid becoming victims of identity theft.


Ontario, Canada -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/14/2012 -- Identity theft is becoming more common in today’s society than ever before. However, many consumers don’t take the necessary steps to avoid it. While one can pull their life back together after their identity has been stolen, it is much easier to avoid it in the first place. Craig Barrett, a mortgage agent with the Greater Toronto area company Argentum Mortgages, issues some simple precautionary tips which can help protect against identify theft.

Wallets and Purses

This seems very obvious, but it is one of the most important things to do. Wallets or purses should not be left in a car, or on a seat, where it might be stolen. Photocopies should be made of the front and back of all cards, including the account numbers and the phone number of the issuing bank. If this is done and the wallet is lost or stolen, cards can be cancelled before someone uses them.

Bank and Credit Card Statements

Bank statements should be checked at least once a month, but more often (using the bank’s website), is even better. Any charges that look suspicious should be reported or disputed and the card in question cancelled if need be. All statements, or any other mail with identifying information, such as, name, address, SIN, etc., should be shredded before disposing of them. Also, credit reports should be checked at minimum once a year. Look for any unrecognizable accounts or other unfamiliar items. If anything out of the ordinary is found, Transunion and Equifax, the credit reporting agencies, should be contacted. They can prevent the credit score from being affected by making a note on the credit file.

Credit Card Numbers over the Phone and Internet

Credit card numbers should not be given to anyone over the phone or on the Internet, unless they were contacted directly. When a call is received requiring credit card information, a request should be made to call the company back on a number that is known and trusted. Additionally, phone numbers should be kept up to date with the bank. This makes it easier for them to issue alerts about suspicious card activity.

Where Cards Are Used

Thieves need to scan a card in order to steal it. One common way to do this in person, is to scan the card twice.; once for the actual purchase and another with their own scanner. This is called card skimming. Thieves can also attach a skimming device to the front of a bank machine. It will even look like it is built into the machine. This device, along with a camera pointed at the keypad, gives them bank card information and PIN numbers. Therefore, care should be exercised when using cards and careful observation should be made of what is being done with them. Additionally, when PINs are entered, the keypad should be covered with one hand, to hide the code from any hidden cameras.

While identity theft can be frustrating and scary, if these simple steps are followed it can be prevented and information kept safe. This is especially important when buying a home. The sooner identity theft is caught the easier it is to repair.

About Craig Barrett
Craig Barrett is a licensed mortgage agent with Argentum Mortgages in Ontario, Canada, whose goal is to help clients achieve the dream of owning their own home. He specializes in a variety of mortgage services, including first and second mortgages, commercial, and private mortgages. Clients who live in Hamilton, Oakville, Burlington, Mississauga, Milton, Brampton, or anywhere in the Greater Toronto Area are encouraged to contact Barrett for assistance on their path to home ownership. For more information, please visit

Contact Information

Craig Barrett
Mortgage Agent, Argentum Mortgages
97 Corstate Avenue, Suite 2A
Concord, Ontario, Canada, L4K 4Y2