There are thieves in many communities that make a career out of identity and credit theft. Once they have your information you may be suck you with the bill, poor credit and the inconvenience of credit repair. Here are some ways to avoid becoming a victim:
1. Check your bank and credit card statements each month
Checking your statements allows you to view your spending over the month and will alert you to any suspicious activity.
2. Obtain a copy of your credit report once per year to look for suspicious activity
There are two credit reporting agencies in Canada, Equifax Canada and Transunion, that will provide you with your credit report. If there is suspicious activity, you should notify the reporting agencies that your identity may have been stolen.
3. Report lost or stolen cards immediately
The sooner you do this, the less likely someone will be able to spend money in your name.
4. Keep your financial institutions up to date with your current information
If you haven’t provided them with your current phone numbers, institutions can’t contact you to stop what they may believe to be a fraudulent purchase.
5. Never leave your purse/wallet in the car
It can be tempting to leave your valuables in your car as a way of storing them when you’re out and about. A car is one of the least safe places to leave your valuable information.
6. Only give your credit card number to reputable companies
If you’re asked for your information over the phone, call them back using the institutions listed phone number. Never give out your information over email or to any website that doesn’t begin with Https://; the “s” means it’s a secure site.
7. Cover your PIN numbers
Protecting your pin while you punch it in will prevent thieves from being able to access your account.
8. Inspect automated bank machines (ABM) before using them
Check for hidden cameras above or around the keypad and devices protruding from the card reader. Report any suspicions immediately to the institution.
9. Have a high-security PIN
Don’t make your PIN something obvious like the first 4 numbers of your card number or ‘1234’. Also, don’t keep a copy of your pin in your wallet.
10. Record your account numbers and the phone numbers for the institution
Keep a record of your account number and who to contact in a safe place in your home in the event that your cards are lost or stolen.