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PYID: Protect Your I.D. — MasterCard survey shows Canadians need to guard their personal information

Plus, top ten tips on preventing identity theft and payment card fraud

Toronto, March 9, 2006 — Personal and financial information, such as social insurance numbers (SINs), driver’s licenses, credit cards and bank cards, are valuable possessions, and if lost or stolen can put an individual at risk for fraud. According to new research from MasterCard Canada, more than four in five Canadians (81 per cent) believe that losing their SIN card would put them at the greatest risk for identity theft. Yet almost six in 10 (58 per cent) of Canadians carry their SIN card with them at all times.

“MasterCard Canada is calling on Canadians to PYID: Protect Your I.D. — while consumers recognize their personal and financial information is valuable, they are not doing enough to protect it,” said Jennifer Reed, Vice President, Public Affairs, MasterCard Canada. “We think PYID is a simple and easy way to remember to protect your identification — leave unnecessary pieces of sensitive ID, such as your SIN card, at home and keep a close eye on your wallet or purse and other vulnerable items such as laptop computers or PDAs.”

The survey also revealed that three quarters of Canadians believe that losing their driver’s license or their credit card would put them at risk for identity theft (78 per cent and 77 per cent respectively). While 73 per cent believe losing their passport would put them at risk, just six per cent of Canadians carry them on a regular basis.

Here are MasterCard Canada’s Top 10 Tips on how to PYID:

  1. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended. Keep your personal data and information guarded at all times.
  2. Sign your credit and debit cards as soon as you receive them. Call your card issuer if a new or reissued card does not arrive when expected.
  3. Don’t carry your social insurance card, birth certificate, or passport with you unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  4. Never throw away receipts or statements in a public trash container, and be sure to destroy or shred the areas where the account number is visible.
  5. Make a note of when your financial statements arrive each month. If your statements stop arriving, contact your bank. Read through your monthly statements carefully.
  6. Do not provide your account number over the phone unless you are positive the call is legitimate. Never provide your number over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call.
  7. Keep a list of your credit card accounts, bank accounts, and financial institutions telephone numbers in a secure place so you can quickly call the card issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards.
  8. Memorize your passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) so you do not have to write them down.
  9. When making a purchase, keep your card in view at all times. Retrieve the card as soon as the transaction is complete and make sure it is yours.
  10. Be aware of your surroundings. Make sure no one is watching you input your PIN.

Other survey findings:

  • When asked to name the one piece of identification most likely to put them at risk for identity theft, three in 10 (29 per cent) Canadians said the loss of their SIN card would make them most vulnerable, followed by loss of a credit card (22 per cent), and passport (19 per cent). Only six per cent said bank card and five per cent said their health card.
  • Women were more likely to cite the loss of a SIN card (33 per cent) as being most likely to put them at risk for identify theft, while men were more likely to cite the loss of a passport (22 per cent).
  • Older Canadians (30 and older) are more likely than young Canadians to be wary of losing pieces of identification.

Identity theft versus payment card fraud:
While any form of theft is serious, there’s a difference between identity theft and payment card fraud. Identity theft goes beyond the taking of a single personal item or piece of information. Identity theft occurs when somebody steals personal information, such as a person’s name or social insurance number, without that person’s knowledge, and then uses it to obtain other personal information and ultimately assume their identity to commit fraud.

Despite your best efforts, it’s possible you could become a victim of identity theft or payment card fraud. If that happens, call your financial institution immediately and also report the fraudulent activity to the proper authorities, including the police. In the case of telemarketing fraud or identity theft, you can also report it to Phonebusters at 1-877-495-8501, Also, contact the two national credit bureaus, Equifax at 1-800-465-7166, and TransUnion at 1-866-525-0262, They will place a “Fraud Alert” on your file. Finally, check your financial statements carefully in the following months to make sure the problem has been completely resolved.

About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Environics Research Group on behalf of MasterCard Canada from February 16-20, 2006. The telephone survey is based on a randomly selected sample of 1,005 Canadians ages 18+. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

About MasterCard International
MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members’ credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment card brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 105 countries and in 48 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to