When Samuel L. Jackson asks “What’s in your wallet?” on Capital One TV commercials, he’s serious. So serious he blasted a U.S. anchor on air who mistook him for black actor Laurence Fishburne. (BTW, Fishburne is the face of KIA cars.) All confusion aside, who hasn’t worried that their VISA or Mastercard will wind up in someone else’s wallet.
Your ID, There When You Need It
Being asked for your Ontario driver’s licence to pay a bill seems harmless, until you realize your licence is missing from your wallet. Panic sets in. Is it lost or stolen? Did the person you gave it to keep it, accidentally or deliberately? Did you drop it and is someone using it while you dig frantically through your purse?
Why Your Identity Matters
Canadians make about 12 million transactions a day with Interac cards and over $513 billion a year in Visa or Mastercard purchases. No wonder major Canadian banks shelled out over $860 million in 2018 to victims of credit and debit card fraud. Your identity is priceless, thanks to the convenience of plastic like Mastercard, and that’s what makes it so valuable to thieves. It opens doors to mortgages, car loans, bank credit lines and so much more.
Having No Identity
Not having a formal identity may seem perplexing to Canadians. We’re accustomed to pulling out a credit card and driver’s licence to get services. Yet around the world, one in seven people (over 1.1 billion) have no formal ID cards. That makes online digital ID, or digital certificates as they are called, very desirable. Those same digital technologies, and the demand for ID, also breed fraud.
What’s Old is Still in Vogue
Fascinating though new technologies may be, traditional identity theft is still your major threat. Identity thieves get your information by:
- capturing PIN numbers at the ATM
- changing mailing addresses to theirs
- giving automatic credit bureaus their address as yours
- phoning you or using fake websites to get account numbers
- dumpster diving
- operating phony charity drives
- getting you to click on fake links in emails
- posting scam jobs to get your SIN
- using your name and photo to set up fake social media accounts.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft and Fraud
When someone steals your identity documents, you may become the victim of identity theft alone or, if the thief pretends to be you, identity fraud. Trafficking in, or selling your information to others, is a separate Criminal Code offence.
Securing Your Information is Your Best Defence
Websites like sans.org and staysafeonline.org can help you prevent fraud by securing your passwords. Locking your mobile devices and work station prevents confidential information from being viewed or downloaded. That and regularly updating your antivirus or anti-malware software are the first steps to creating a digital vault for your information.
Just a Click Away
It seems obvious, but identity theft is just a click away when you open your email. Avoid responding to emails from people you don’t know. Activate the spam filter on your email and copy and paste hyperlinks into a search engine, instead of clicking on them in your email.
Why You Need to Notarize Legal Documents
Hiding your password at the ATM, getting credit bureau reports, shredding your mail — as if you didn’t have enough to do. It only makes sense employers, foreign embassies, landlords and vehicle owners are increasingly asking for notarized documents. A notarized document assures them that a government-approved official has confirmed your identity and certified the signature is yours. An Ontario notary public seal or stamp is their assurance legal documents are legitimate.
What Happens During Your Notary Appointment
During your office visit or remote video call, a notary public:
- Verifies your identity by reviewing and making a record of your government-issued ID.
- Reviews documents you want notarized.
- Ensures you are not being coerced to sign against your will.
- Verifies you understand what you are signing and are not intoxicated, medicated or mentally incapable.
- Watches while you sign the document.
- Stamps your documents with a notary seal.
- Gives you a final copy for your use.
How a Lawyer Can Help
The worst has happened. You’re a victim of identity theft or fraud. A lawyer can help you communicate with credit card companies or lenders who question your integrity. They can draft letters to help right the damage to your credit reputation and advise you on criminal and civil law in Ontario. Being victimized is unpleasant, but you’re definitely not alone.
Ontario Virtual Notaries Available Days or Evenings
Axess Law’s Ontario virtual notaries can give you an online appointment day or evening, 7 days a week. Book a video conference at your convenience by dialing 1-877-522-9377 or in Greater Toronto at 647-479-0118 or using our online booking form. Notaries are available for in person legal consultations at our Ottawa, Toronto, Scarborough, Vaughan, Etobicoke, Mississauga Winston Churchill or Mississauga Heartland law offices.
Click here to learn more about Axess Law’s notary public services.