Surveys have shown that while most people have heard of identity theft, they are not well informed as to exactly what it is and how it happens.What exactly does it mean? Identity theft refers to all types of crime in which someone uses your credit card, driver’s license, social insurance number or other personal identification numbers to commit fraud or other criminal activities. The thief is actually posing as you.Identity theft is on the rise in Canada. Your identity is valuable and unique. In only a few hours a thief can assume your identity but it can take you several months, even years to restore your good name.Many insurance companies now offer Identity Theft Protection under your home, condominium or tenant’s policy. They may offer reimbursement of basic expenses related to identity fraud, the cost of replacing any stolen Government issued identification, legal fees incurred to recover any assets that were fraudulently acquired and up to four credit reports and 12 months of credit monitoring.Identity theft steals your good name, your money and even your self- respect. Don’t give out your personal information over the phone or internet unless you trust the source. Check your credit report every year and report problems immediately. Shred unwanted personal documents such as transaction records, credit applications, insurance forms, cheques, financial statements and tax returns.You are unique. Don’t let anyone take that away from you.