What does “No Fault” insurance really mean??

Here’s a common myth: that no-fault auto insurance means no one is at fault. Not so. There are still fault-based rules of the road, enforced by police. If you are at-fault in a collision, your insurance premiums will be affected. Depending on the nature of the collision, you may be charged with an offence. These offences are governed by either provincial motor vehicle legislation or federal legislation such as the Criminal Code of Canada.

No-fault insurance exists to ensure that those injured in a collision receive compensation and benefits from their own insurance company, regardless of fault.

It’s designed to reduce the delays of an adversarial legal (or “tort”) system, and to provide treatment and benefits to injured victims as quickly as possible.

Most provinces in Canada have some form of no-fault accident benefits that are paid to all collision victims. The difference is the degree to which tort (the right to sue) or no-fault (access to accident benefits) is emphasized. For example, Quebec has a pure no-fault system that eliminates the right to sue, but provides substantial accident benefits. Ontario has a “hybrid” system, which blends no-fault and tort.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have either pure or hybrid no-fault insurance systems. British Columbia, Alberta and the Atlantic provinces have tort-based systems. It is interesting to note that BC consistently has one of the highest incidences of highway injuries and fatalities of any province in Canada.

While some argue that a tort system provides a deterrent against poor driving behaviour, there is no correlation between the type of insurance system and the road safety record of the jurisdiction. There is no evidence that no-fault insurance leads to increased numbers of collisions or fatalities/injuries.

Source:
https://www.avivacanada.com/blog/2014/11-07/fault-or-no-fault-whats-difference

Do you know what a deductible is? When you need to pay?

Have you ever looked through your insurance policy and felt like you were reading another language? Understanding insurance terminology might seem intimidating, but we’re working on changing that. Let’s break down deductibles.

What is an insurance deductible and how do deductibles work?

In your insurance policy, the deductible is the amount that you agree to pay out of your own pocket before your insurer will step in and pay the remaining balance of a claim (up to the policy limit).

Picture this: A tree branch falls on the roof of your car, and the repair bill is $1,500. If your deductible is $300, you’ll pay $300 to the repair shop and your insurer will pay the remaining $1,200. If your car is totalled or not worth repairing, your insurer may pay you the actual cash value of your car instead — in this case, your deductible would be subtracted from the total payout.

You’ll usually have some say in the amount of your deductible, and the amount (as well as any rules or exceptions) will be clearly stated in your policy.

Do I have to pay a deductible every time I make a claim?

Not necessarily:

  • If your deductible is $0, you won’t have to pay for any portion of your approved repairs or settlement amount.
  • Some policies will waive your deductible when certain circumstances apply. When your total claim hits a certain dollar value, for example, you might not have to pay your deductible.
    • Picture this: After a fire, you make a home insurance claim of $50,000 for repairs. Your home insurance deductible is $1,000, but your policy states that this deductible doesn’t apply if a single claim adds up to more than $25,000. In this case, since the claim is more than $25,000, you don’t have to pay your deductible.
  • Some policies have different deductible amounts for different types of coverage, which means that you may or may not have to pay, depending on the coverage you use for that specific claim. And, if your insurer determines that your claim will be covered by more than one section of your policy, they’ll do the math and determine how much of your deductible you’ll need to pay.
    • Picture this: Your car insurance policy says that your deductible is $0 when an accident isn’t your fault and $500 when it is your fault. You get in a fender-bender and your insurer determines the accident was the other driver’s fault, so they decide to fully cover the damage to your vehicle (up to your policy’s limit, of course) — so you pay $0. In this same situation, if your insurer determined that you and the other driver were equally responsible, you may only have to pay 50% of your deductible — in this case, you’d pay $250. But if your insurer determined the accident was entirely your fault, you’d be on the hook for $500.s

Why do deductibles exist?

Now, you may be wondering why insurance companies build deductibles into their policies in the first place — and it’s a good question. Long story short, deductibles exist to keep insurance as affordable as possible.

Here are just a few ways deductibles work to save you money in the long run:

  1. Deductibles help prevent fraudulent claims and reckless behaviour. If insurance policies didn’t have deductibles in place, some people could be tempted to damage their own things or act recklessly (two behaviours known as “moral hazards” in the insurance world) just because they know their insurer will protect them. This becomes less tempting when they know that part of the repair bill will come out of their own pocket. Over time, false claim payouts can lead to higher premiums for everyone who has insurance, and implementing deductibles is just one way of preventing them.
  2. Deductibles help prevent minor claims. If an insurance company had to process a $50 claim every time someone found a tiny scratch on their car door, they would need to employ a lot more people — and that could drive up the cost of insurance, since the cost of processing these small claims would far outweigh the actual cost of the repairs. Deductibles help keep minor claims at bay.
  3. Deductibles help keep your money in your pocket. When you set your deductible, you’re agreeing to either fully cover those smaller claims or cover a portion of your repair costs for larger claims. When your insurer doesn’t need to invest in processing those smaller claims or paying the full amount, they’re able to share those savings with you through lower premiums.

How do I know if I’ve chosen the right deductible?

The best way to figure out if your deductible is right for you is to ask yourself one simple question: Would you be comfortable paying the deductible amount out of your own pocket if you made a claim today? If you choose a lower deductible, you’ll be responsible for footing less of the bill if you make a claim — but the cost of your insurance could be a little higher. On the other hand, if you choose a higher deductible, the cost of your insurance will likely be lower — but don’t forget that you’ll be expected to pay the deductible if you make a claim.

Note: Rules and regulations can vary by province, and claims are handled according to the location where the accident occurs — not necessarily the rules in your home province. That means the amount you need to pay for your deductible could be different if you’re involved in an accident outside of your home province.

If you have questions or want to make changes to your deductibles, reach out to your licensed broker today.

Full Article by Economical Insurance:

https://www.economical.com/en/blog/economical-blog/february-2017/the-lowdown-on-deductibles?ck=ecocom|blog|p|2|en-CA


What you need to know about trip cancellation insurance.

Almost two-thirds of Canadians either don’t buy or are unsure if they have trip cancellation insurance before leaving on holiday, according to a recent study of 960 Canadians by Kanetix.ca.

Assuming that trip cancellation coverage costs no more than 10% of a trip, that’s an insurance premium of about $300 for the average vacation costing about $3,000.

For a significant number of Canadian travelers, that cost is too high, the Kanetix study found. Thirty-six per cent of survey respondents believe that cancellation insurance is too expensive.

The Kanetix study lists a number of other reasons why your clients are hesitant to purchase cancellation insurance.

For example, 28% of Canadians surveyed said they have it on their credit card.

“Value adds” on a credit card such as travel insurance and/or damage to a rental car are typically underwritten by the insurance company with which the consumer’s financial institution has an agreement, Kanetix observed in a follow-up email with Canadian Underwriter. “People should check their credit card agreement documents for the specifics — including the insurance company.”

Another 15% of Canadians said they already have trip cancellation coverage through their workplace benefits. However, that not all policies cover the same limits. “It’s always best to check what your employee group coverage is, versus purchasing privately,” Kanetix advises travelers.

Twelve percent believe that their travel medical policy includes cancellation coverage. But does it?

“They are separate coverages and must be purchased separately,” Kanetix notes. Unless an all-inclusive policy has been purchased, which bundles emergency medical, trip cancellation and baggage loss coverage into one policy, there’s a chance that your clients may not have the coverage they think they do.

It might be worth it for brokers to raise the matter with clients just for educational purposes alone. Thirteen percent of people in the survey had not even heard of trip cancellation insurance.

And then there are the skeptics: 18% of those surveyed said they were not confident a claim would be paid.

Whatever reasons a client may cite for declining trip cancellation coverage, there are plenty of opportunities for brokers to educate the client about the coverage, said Janine White, vice president of marketplaces and strategy at Kanetix.ca.

“For all that trip cancellation insurance covers, it’s an inexpensive way to protect the money you’ve invested into going on vacation,” Smith said in a press release announcing the survey results. “Whether it’s due to a death in the family, being called to jury duty, or a sudden injury or illness that prevents you from travelling, trip cancellation insurance can help you recoup travel expenses that are non-refundable or prepaid should you need to cancel your plans.”

Trip cancellation insurance can also provide coverage if the client is laid off from his or her job, if the home suffers a catastrophic loss like fire or flooding, severe weather, or if the Government of Canada issues a new “avoid travel” advisory, among other reasons why a client would want the coverage.

Full Article by Canadian Underwriter https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/what-your-clients-need-to-know-about-trip-cancellation-insurance-1004159803/

Driverless Cars Now Allowed on Ontario Roads

Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek has announced that, as of Jan. 1, participants in Ontario’s automated vehicle pilot program can test driverless cars on public roadways, under strict conditions.

The program’s nine participants – including BlackBerry’s QNX, Magna, Uber and the University of Waterloo – are currently testing 10 vehicles, but aren’t yet using fully driverless ones.

Yurek also announced that members of the public will be able to drive “Level 3” conditionally automated vehicles, which manage most safety-critical driving functions but the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times.

The Progressive Conservative government says it isn’t aware of any such vehicles for sale in Canada yet, but once they become available, they will be allowed on Ontario roads.

The changes were first proposed last year by the previous Liberal government.

Source: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/driverless-cars-are-now-allowed-on-ontario-roads-1004151104/

Snow Removal is Everyone’s Responsibility – Mike Holmes

Canadian weather can seem a bit unpredictable. One minute it’s sunshine and warm weather. Next thing you know we’re hit with a snowstorm. Don’t let the occasional spring-like day fool you — we are still in the middle of winter. And when you consider that insurance claims for damages related to winter storms can run into the thousands, knowing how to deal with ice and snow around your house is just smart.

One of the first things I tell homeowners is to keep snow away from foundation walls. The moisture from snow melting can slowly seep in. Remember, concrete is porous. So when you shovel your driveway, walkways and sidewalks, shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home. And make sure fire hydrants, gas meters and dryer vents aren’t covered by snow.

Enough snow on the wrong roof could cause it to collapse. The funny thing is that you want your roof to have snow. If the snow doesn’t melt, your attic insulation is doing its job. But if there’s too much snow and ice the roof can collapse. Flat roofs are especially vulnerable. Some municipalities even ask homeowners to remove snow from flat rooftops, overhangs and gutters — especially if the area has been hit with a few snow and ice storms.

Some homeowner will use roof snow shovels to remove the snow. These shovels are designed reach the roof from the ground so you’re not climbing up on the roof and risking a fall. But shovelling your roof from the ground also has its risks: One, you could damage your shingles. And two, the snow could come down on top of you.

If you need to remove snow or an ice dam from your roof call a professional contractor who regularly deals with these kinds of problems.

Most people worry about injuries happening on their property — and they should. You’re responsible for taking the proper precautions, because if someone gets hurt as a result of your negligence, you’re in trouble. That includes injuries caused by falling icicles, slips and falls. These are so common that there’s even an insurance category called “slip and fall” cases.

And if you think you’re off the hook because you’re a renter — you’re not. In some Canadian jurisdictions there’s legislation that includes “duty of care.” What that means is that the occupier of a home — it doesn’t matter if they’re just renting — needs to make sure the property is safe for anyone who has to enter it, such as the mailman or utility service reps.

Snow and ice are slipping hazards — everyone knows this. But shovelling might not be enough. You also need to think ahead. If the temperature drops below freezing or you know a storm is headed your way, apply a de-icer on your driveway, walkway and sidewalk. Spread as much as your property’s size requires. After the storm, apply more, along with some sand to add traction.

The most common de-icer is sodium chloride — what many people call road or rock salt. It’s the most inexpensive. But there’s also calcium chloride, urea, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride. Calcium chloride and magnesium chloride melt ice faster than salt, but they cost more. And calcium chloride is corrosive; it destroys grass roots. Urea and potassium chloride can be found in fertilizer, so they’re safe for your lawn. The problem is that urea can be corrosive, and potassium chloride damages concrete. And that’s not good.

I’m not a big fan of salt, and there are a number of reasons. One, it destroys your grass. Have you ever seen brown patches of grass at the end of driveways and along the sides? That’s because melted snow with salt in it got into the soil. Two, it can make your pet sick. When I take my dog Charlie out for a walk, sometimes he gets salt on his paws. Then when he’s back inside he starts licking them. The next day he’s throwing up.

The third reason is that salt works best only when the ground temperature is above -9C (15F). We’ve certainly seen temperatures lower than -9C this past week. Plus, salt is sensitive to temperature changes. The colder the ground temperature, the less effective it is.

And fourth, salt eats away at brick mortar. I’ve seen brick homes where every year the salt eats away more at the mortar, the voids climbing up from the ground with every passing winter.

I’d rather use sand or gravel over salt because they’re safer natural alternatives. But no matter what de-icer you decide to go with, make sure you read the package and follow instructions.

If you think about the risks, taking care of ice and snow is a no-brainer. Save yourself the trouble and stop any potential injuries Old Man Winter might bring to your doorstep.

Source: https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/mike-holmes-removing-snow-ice-is-everyones-responsibility

Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving can sometimes be a daunting task, especially when conditions are snowy or icy. If road conditions are dangerous, consider making alternate travel arrangements or postponing your trip until conditions improve.

Follow these steps to keep yourself safe and collision free during the next few blustery winter months.

Step 1: Make sure that your vehicle is prepared for winter driving.

  • Winter tires are a good option, as they will provide greater traction under snowy or icy conditions.
  • Keep a snow brush/scraper in your car, along with possible emergency items such as a lightweight shovel, battery jumper cables, and a flashlight.
  • Make sure that mirrors, all windows, and the top of your vehicle, are free of snow or frost before getting onto the road.

Step 2: Drive smoothly and slowly

  • Don’t make any abrupt turns or stops when driving. Doing so will often cause your vehicle to lose control and skid.
  • Driving too quickly is the main cause of winter collisions. Be sure to drive slowly and carefully on snow and ice covered roads.

Step 3: Don’t tailgate.

  • Tailgating becomes much worse in winter weather. Stopping takes much longer on snowy and icy roads than on dry pavement, so be sure to leave enough room between your vehicle and the one in front of you.

Step 4: Brake before making turns.

  • Brake slowly to reduce speed before entering turns. Once you have rounded the corner you can accelerate again.

Step 5: Learn how to control skids.

  • When skidding, you actually need to go against your natural instincts and turn into the skid and accelerate. Doing so transfers your vehicle’s weight from the front to the rear and often helps vehicles to regain control.

Step 6: Lights On.

  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.

Step 7: No Cruise Control.

  • Never use cruise control if conditions are snowy, icy, or wet, because if your car hydroplanes, your car will try to accelerate and you may lose control of your vehicle.

Step 8: Don’t “pump” the brakes.

  • If your vehicle is equipped with an anti-lock braking system (ABS), do not “pump” the brakes. Apply constant pressure and let the system do its work.

Step 9: Pay attention.

  • Manoeuvres are more difficult to make in the snow. Be sure to anticipate what your next move is going to be to give yourself lots of room for turns and stopping.

Source: https://canadasafetycouncil.org/winter-driving-tips/

Emergency Preparedness

A fire, an earthquake, or a flood puts you and your family at risk. It’s important to have an emergency kit with 72 hours of supplies as well as an escape plan for your family.

There is much to consider when developing a home emergency plan for your family, such as the following:

  • Plan for specific crisis situations, e.g., a power outage, a flood or severe weather.
  • Talk to your neighbours – plan ahead to share responsibilities.
  • Know your home’s exits and nearby safe meeting locations – not all family members may be at home when a crisis happens.
  • Have detailed current contact lists for work and school as well as for any special health needs.
  • If you must evacuate, know what basics to take such as identification, cash, cellphones and chargers, maps, pet food and more.

In case of an emergency, it’s best to be prepared. Download an ebook version of the Government of Canada’s Your Emergency Preparedness Guide.

Create a Home Emergency Kit

Some of the items that the Government of Canada suggests for an auto or home emergency kit include:

  • Water – 2 litres per person per day, ideally in small bottles for easy transportation
  • Food (e.g., non-spoilable granola bars, canned food and a manual can opener)
  • A wind-up or regular flashlight and radio (and batteries)
  • A first aid kit and fire extinguisher
  • Extra keys
  • A warm blanket, extra clothes and extra shoes
  • Cash – including small bills and change for pay phones
  • Road flares and a whistle (in case you need to alert people)
  • Road maps
  • A copy of your emergency plan, personal documents (License, Health Card, etc.) and daily prescriptions1

Source: http://www.ibc.ca/ns/home/emergency-preparedness

Tougher penalties for distracted driving in Ontario Jan. 1 2019

Stiffer fines and long-term consequences are coming for distracted drivers in Ontario in 2019.

Most drivers caught, talking, texting, dialling or emailing on a handheld device will be fined up to $1,000 — more than double the current fine.

Additional penalties include a three-day licence suspension and three demerit points. And that’s just the beginning.

“It’s really going to cost you, but there’s a reason for that,” said Const. Sean Ralph of the Ottawa police.

“It’s a major infraction right up there with impaired driving.”

Ontario is ringing in the new year with the new penalties, making it a good time for drivers to make a resolution to keep their hands off their devices while behind the wheel.

Ontario is ringing in the new year with the new penalties, making it a good time for drivers to make a resolution to keep their hands off their devices while behind the wheel.

For a second conviction within five years, the maximum fine rises to $2,000, plus six demerit points and a seven-day driver’s licence suspension.

More convictions within that five-year period would be an even bigger hit to the wallet at a fine up to $3,000, six demerit points and a 30-day suspension.

On top of that, convicted motorists can expect their insurance rates to go up.

Distracted drivers are the leading cause of fatal collisions in Ontario, according to police.

But in spite of safety campaigns, police crackdowns, and increased fines, texting and driving is still rampant.

“It’s really education through enforcement,” said Ralph, who hopes higher fines will change behaviour on the road.

“The last thing I want to do, especially this time of year, is do a death notification.”

Toughest penalties for new drivers

Drivers with a graduated (G1, G2, M1 or M2) licence face even harsher penalties.

Texting a friend? Answering a phone call? Looking up an address? If you’re doing any of those things behind the wheel, you’re breaking the law.

Those drivers face the same fines as more experienced drivers, plus:

  • 30-day licence suspensions for a first conviction,
  • 90-day licence suspensions for a second conviction,
  • licence cancellations for a third conviction.

The penalties are the same whether the motorist is using a cellphone while driving or sitting at a red light.

Ontario’s Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said last month these will be Canada’s toughest penalties for repeat distracted driving convictions.

The only exceptions are to call 911 in an emergency situation or when the driver is either lawfully parked or safely pulled off the road — which is only allowed on a 400-series highway for an emergency.

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/distracted-driving-texting-ontario-penalities-1.4939223

Shovelling the Snow, What’s the Law?

While slip and fall injuries can occur at any time of the year, winter is an especially dangerous time for such accidents in Ontario. To protect public safety, many provincial cities require premises owners or occupiers to clear sidewalks of snow and ice. Further, Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act provides victims of slip and fall accidents with the option to pursue compensation when an owner fails to maintain hazard-free premises.

Ontario’s City-Specific Laws on Clearing Snow and Ice from Walkways

A number of cities have enacted public ordinances requiring owners and occupiers to remove ice and snow from sidewalks. Below is a sampling of these city-specific laws:

  • Hamilton – Section 5 of the City of Hamilton By-law 03-296 regulates snow and ice removal from public sidewalks. It calls for home and business owners or occupants to clear such hazards from walkways – including the access ramps located at street corners. Snow and ice should be removed within 24 hours of accumulation. Snow that has been removed cannot be placed into the road or in a location that restricts access to a fire hydrant. Penalties for failure to comply include a notice of violation and fines that could reach as high as $5,000.
  • Ottawa – The city’s Property Maintenance By-law No. 2005-208 regulates the removal of snow and ice from sidewalks. It requires owners and occupiers to clear snow and ice on their property or adjacent to their property. Ice that cannot be removed should be mediated with the use of salt, sand or gravel. Further, building owners are required to clear snow and ice that may pose a public safety hazard (such as accumulation that can fall on passersby or later melt and refreeze onto the sidewalk creating an additional slip and fall hazard) from roofs. Those who fail to clear such property hazards are issued a notice to comply. Continued violation of the regulation may result in a financial penalty.
  • Toronto – The city’s Municipal Code Chapter 719 requires residential and business property owners to clear all property-adjacent walkways of snow and ice accumulation. This must happen within 12 hours of the snowfall. Failure to comply with this city ordinance may result in a fine totaling $125. Property owners and occupants are encouraged to use salt, sand or clay kitty litter in cases where ice is difficult to remove.

Many other cities in Ontario have enacted similar snow and ice removal ordinances.

Despite these by-laws, municipalities have an overriding duty to ensure that sidewalks are clear of snow and ice.  Failure by an adjacent property owner or occupier does not impute liability onto him or her.  It simply exposes him or her to fines while the municipality remains legally liable for any damages sustained.    In limited circumstances, however, adjacent property owners/occupiers can be held liable for damages and that is why it is so important to speak to a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with this complex area of law.

Other Ontario Laws Impacting Snow and Ice Removal

Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act requires landlords to assume the responsibility of snow and ice removal for apartment buildings and other rental properties. Meanwhile, Ontario’s Occupiers’ Liability Act provides slip and fall victims the right to hold property owners and occupiers financially responsible for accidents that occur because of hazards, such as snow and ice on sidewalks.

 

Source: https://www.preszlerlaw.com/blog/what-is-the-law-in-ontario-for-clearing-snow-and-ice-from-your-premises/

Identity Theft & Identity Fraud

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. As of January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became law, making it illegal to possess another person’s identity information for criminal purposes.

What is Identity Fraud?

Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds (including for example personating another person and the misuse of debit card or credit card data).

Facts

  • Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.
  • Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spywares and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.
  • Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their “good name”.
  • The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) maintains statistics on the complaints they receive.
  • In 2009, the CACF received identity fraud reports from 11,095 Canadian victims, totaling a loss of more than 10 million dollars. This represents an increase of more than 1 million dollars of what was reported in 2008. Payment card fraud was the most commonly reported incident, and yet, many instances of identity theft and fraud go unreported.

Information sought

Identity thieves are looking for the following information:

  • full name
  • date of birth
  • Social Insurance Numbers
  • full address
  • mother’s maiden name
  • username and password for online services
  • driver’s license number
  • personal identification numbers (PIN)
  • credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last three digits printed on the signature panel)
  • bank account numbers
  • signature
  • passport number

The new legislation on identity theft provides a complete list of identity documents.

The new section 402.1 of the Criminal Code lists the definition and examples of identity information.

What your information could be used for

Criminals can use your stolen or reproduced personal or financial information to:

  • access your bank accounts
  • open new bank accounts
  • transfer bank balances
  • apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services
  • make purchases
  • hide their criminal activities
  • obtain passports or receive government benefits

Using identity theft to facilitate organized criminal and terrorist activities also appears to be a growing trend.

How can you find out if your identity was stolen

The best way to find out is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.

Report it

If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information:

  • Step 1 – Contact your local police force and file a report.
  • Step 2 – Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company
  • Step 3 – Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Step 4 – Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Stop it

Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime:

  • Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.
  • Ask yourself if you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don’t need and keep them in a secure place instead.
  • Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.
  • During transactions, it’s safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.
  • Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.
  • Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.
  • Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.
  • Trash bins are a goldmine for identity thieves. Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them in the garbage.
  • When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your bank and credit card companies).

Source: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/id-theft-vol-eng.htm