1. Keep your personal information safe
Question & AnswerHow do I protect myself from identity theft?
Don’t carry your birth certificate, social insurance card, or passport with you unless you need it that day.
Remove mail from your mailbox as soon as possible. If you will be away from home for some time, ask a friend or trusted neighbour to collect your mail for you. Canada Post also has a mail holding service that you can use if you will be away for long.
If you move, stop your mail from going to your old address. Give your new address to all the companies you deal with. You can also use Canada Post’s mail forwarding service to make sure all your mail comes to your new address.
If you receive paper copies of bank, credit card or any other financial statements or bills, you should shred them before you throw them out.
If you do not have a paper shredder, look for a paper shredding community event or service in your city. Many communities have days where residents can use a shredder for a small fee.
Make sure all paperwork with financial information is kept in a safe place in your home.
Social Insurance Numbers (SIN)
Many people may ask you for your SIN if you are buying, renting, or making an agreement with them. They do not always have a right to that information. For example, you do not have to give your SIN to a landlord you want to rent from.
The only organisations or people you must give your SIN to are:
- your employer
- your accountant or someone preparing your tax returns
- certain government agencies, like Canada Revenue Agency, or if you are applying for social assistance
- banks and financial institutions
You do not need to give your SIN to most other people or businesses.
Landlords can ask for your SIN, but you don’t have to give it. They can still do a credit check on you with your full name, current address, and date of birth. Some people prefer to give landlords their SIN instead of their date of birth. Keep in mind that your date of birth is also important .
Some landlords may not know that they can do a credit check without your SIN. Let them know that they can do one without the SIN if they have your other information.