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March 3, 2005

New initiative

Tools launched to prevent identity theft

The provincial government is taking action to help businesses protect themselves from the risk of identity theft, Consumer and Business Services Minister Jim Watson announced recently.

“Identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in North America,” said Watson.

“By understanding how to protect the identity of their customers, businesses can help prevent identity theft.

“Simply put, smart businesses are good for consumers.”

As part of Fraud Awareness Month, Watson launched the identity theft kit and checklist for business — new information tools for businesses to reduce their risk of identity theft.

“Businesses now have useful tips and tools on how to handle and safeguard consumer information,” said Watson.

“Consumers will have greater confidence that their personal and financial information is protected.”

Federal, provincial and territorial consumer ministries jointly developed the kit and checklist in consultation with banks, business associations, privacy commissioners, credit-reporting agencies, credit card companies, law enforcement officials and consumer groups.

“This is an excellent tool to help businesses protect themselves and their customers against the growing threat of identity theft,” said Derek Fry, president of Visa Canada.

“Through collaborative efforts that engage governments, the business community, law enforcement, and Canadians, we can stay one step ahead of the criminals.”

Canadian credit-reporting agencies receive more than 1,800 identity theft complaints each month.

According to a U.S. report, as much as 70 per cent of all identity theft begins with theft of personal information from a company by an employee.

Access to the kit and checklist is easy and convenient.

Business owners can link to the kit and checklist from the ServiceOntario Web site at www.serviceontario.ca.

— Grant Cameron

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