With personal information being stored online, a risk that data might be leaked to the public is always present.
A recent example of that happened last week, when personal information of 67 students, including social insurance numbers, was posted on the Surrey Schools website for longer than two weeks.
The data was part of student scholarship applications that were “inadvertently” posted on the district’s website from April 19 to May 6.
While a letter sent to impacted students notes that the “vast majority” of the people who accessed the data were members of the scholarship committee, the district cannot confirm that authorized personnel were the only people to view the data.
The district told students to “remain alert.”
RELATED: Surrey school district accidentally posts some student SIN numbers
Surrey RCMP told the Now-Leader that a person who believes their identification has been stolen should pay attention if they receive calls and letters for credit cards or accounts that they have never applied for. They should also pay attention to credit card statements and watch for any unauthorized purchases.
In the case of SIN or another personal information leak, police recommend reporting it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
In the case of a person becoming victim of fraud, RCMP recommend that they notify police, contact their bank and close or modify accounts and credit cards, report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and contact credit bureaus to have fraud alerts place on their credit cards.
To protect against fraud, police recommend to use caution when sharing personal information in person, over the phone, or online. People are also advised to protect passwords, use secure websites, don’t carry a SIN card and passport unnecessarily, shred documents that contain personal information, don’t leave sensitive information inside vehicles, and have mail held if they are going out of town for a lengthy period of time.
Surrey RCMP said it could not provide the number of ID theft cases it receives on an annual basis. However, police said property crime in general was down 16 per cent in 2020.
Police said the most common use of a stolen identity is to take out credit cards.
More information about fraud, and the steps that should be taken, can be found here.