OPP warning motorists are at risk of identity theftTuesday, December 10, 2013 by: Kate Adams
OPP News Release
North Bay – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) North Bay Detachment is warning motorists about the dangers of identity theft resulting from unlocked vehicles, or the leaving of valuables in plain sight, particularly during the holiday season, as part of the annual Lock it OR Lose it Campaign by the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP).
The campaign is a proactive crime-prevention program that encourages drivers to take precautions to protect their vehicles and vehicle contents from theft, particularly during the holiday season.
“Police want motorists to be aware of the dangers involved in leaving vehicles unlocked or valuables in plain sight,” said Staff Sergeant Sloss. “We are especially concerned about the opportunity for identity theft resulting from the theft of unlocked vehicles or valuables found therein.”
During the Lock it OR Lose it Campaign, police officers will examine parked vehicles to confirm that they are locked and that no valuables have been left in plain view.
Officers will place small notices on vehicles that have been checked, to indicate what safety precautions were neglected and to offer simple crime-prevention tips for drivers to protect their vehicles against theft. Alternatively, the notices can be filled out to congratulate drivers who have secured their vehicles.
Police are urging motorists not to keep personal documents such as vehicle ownerships, liability pink slips, credit card invoices, and passports in their vehicles when unoccupied. Identity thieves look for such documents so they can assume identities, secure credit card accounts, and even take out mortgages on victims’ properties without their knowledge.
Victims may not realize they have been victimized until it is too late, costing them time and money to rectify the damage.
The number of stolen vehicles has dropped dramatically recently, with 4,500 fewer motor vehicle thefts in 2012 than there were in 2011, and a 57-percent drop from a decade ago.
Despite this positive trend, Ontario’s police leaders and our community partners are concerned that in 2012 there were 12,739 incidents of identity theft and identity fraud reported to police, a five-percent increase over those reported in 2011.
The Provincial Lock it OR Lose it Campaign is supported by a number of OACP partners: Insurance Bureau of Canada, Interac Association, Roy Speed Ross/Globali, Mac’s Convenience Stores, Canpar, and TitlePLUS.
More details about preventing auto theft may be found on-line at: www.ibc.ca/en/Insurance_Crime/Auto_Theft/