I’ve once again partnered with Capital One Canada in support of Fraud Prevention Month.
Fraud Prevention Month is an annual education and awareness campaign encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud. As information becomes more widely available online, it is increasingly important for Canadians to protect themselves and their finances.
The risks are as high as ever, and the onus and responsibility is on us to ensure we are taking the proper precautions to protect ourselves.
According to data provided by Capital One, the majority of Canadians are aware of the impact identity theft can have on their personal finances (71%), including their credit score, but only half of us (53%) are taking some of the recommended steps to protect against it.
Trust me, as someone who has worked as a fraud investigator, there are many ways in which you can protect yourself, but first, let’s take a look at the data.
When Canadians were polled about fraud prevention and identity theft, the study found that:
So what can we do to help protect ourselves?
- Review and take advantage of the features your card offers.
Many credit cards have opt-in fraud detection features, like two-way fraud alerts, purchase notifications, etc. If these options are available to you, use them.
- Report fraud immediately.
Report your lost wallet or credit card right away. Call your bank and make them aware of any losses. Many banks have measures in place to protect your account. Capital One can put a temporary block on your card until you find it or confirm you need a replacement, which is especially convenient if you do find it!
- Monitor your credit score.
It goes without saying that staying on top of your financial activity is key. You should know if someone tries to open a new loan account in your name, or worse, has used your information to default on a loan. Leverage a free credit score tool like Credit Keeper* from Capital One to stay in-the-know. This tool, available to select Capital One cardholders, indicates recent inquiries on your credit file, allowing you to vigilantly watch for unexpected activity.
What are the steps consumers can take to identify fraud and take action should they discover their information has, in fact, been compromised?
- If you see any suspicious activity on your card, contact your credit card issuer immediately.
- Check your credit report to ensure you recognize the information.
- It is also a good idea to update online banking passwords to help minimize the risk of them being compromised.
- If you think you might be the victim of identity theft, you can put a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert requires lenders to verify your identity before extending credit in your name. You need to notify the two credit reporting agencies to have this done.
- Immediately change passwords on the affected accounts.
- Finally, sign up for a free credit monitoring tool – like Credit Keeper™ from Capital One.
It’s always wise to stay diligent, active and on top of finances, especially when it comes to protecting our identity, our livelihoods and our money.
For more information, Canadians can visit the Capital One website at www.capitalone.ca/fraud-protection to learn more about credit and protecting themselves from fraud.
*Credit Keeper is a service offered by Capital One Canada and is powered by credit history and score information provided by TransUnion. Availability may vary depending on the ability to verify your identity and obtain your information from TransUnion. The credit score provided by Credit Keeper is intended for your educational use only. Lenders and other commercial users may use a different type of credit score and other information when making credit decisions. Currently, Credit Keeper isn’t available for Capital One customers who live in the province of Quebec, or who have a Capital One Mastercard exclusively for Costco members.