Financial Literacy Month is Here!

28 October 2015

November in Canada is Financial Literacy Month! Since 2011, public, private and nonprofit organizations have come together during Financial Literacy Month (FLM) to remind Canadians of the importance of becoming financially literate, as well as help educate them about how to maintain their financial well-being.

This year’s theme, “Count me in, Canada” highlights the importance of strong relationships between the public and nonprofit and private institutions in building more financially literate communities. The national strategy for this year is to rally these groups to help Canadians:

  • manage their money and debt wisely
  • plan and save for the future
  • prevent and protect against credit fraud and financial abuse.

To achieve these goals, knowledgeable organizations across the country will present resources, host workshops, seminars and other events to help Canadians learn how to manage their personal finances successfully.

The first FLM took place in 2011, with the Financial Literacy Action Group leading a group of 75 organizations to hold 200 events across the country to raise awareness among Canadians and stakeholders. After that first year, the Parliament of Canada got on board, designating each November as Financial Literacy Month. Since then, momentum has been building. Last year, Canadian organizations hosted more than 1,200 workshops, seminars and events across the country. This year holds the promise to have the biggest impact yet.

At Identity Guard, we believe being financially literate is an integral part of protecting your identity and your finances against fraud. Informed consumers are better able to identify and respond to potential indications of fraud on their accounts, keeping their finances, and their peace of mind, in good health. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe from the threat of identity theft:

  • Keep your Social Insurance Number private: Many places will ask for your SIN as a way to identify you, even when it’s not really necessary. If you are asked to provide this information, always ask why the company needs to know it. If at all possible, however, avoid giving it out.
  • Sign up for electronic statements: Even with the increased focus on protecting your identity from hackers and online threats, a great deal of identity thieves still collect their victims’ information from dumpster diving and stealing from mailboxes. To minimize the chances of this happening to you, sign up for electronic financial statements and shred all of your documents before recycling them.
  • Regularly check your credit report: You can access one report for free every 12 months from either credit bureau, Equifax or TransUnion. By regularly reviewing the information stored in your credit file, you can build knowledge and context that will help you quickly recognize any errors or unusual behaviour on your report.

To stay even more up-to-date on the status of your credit health, consider signing up for a credit monitoring service. These companies can serve as your watchdog, keeping an eye on your credit file and notifying you as soon as they detect certain activity on your account that may indicate fraud. From there, they will help recommend the proper action to take to correct any fraudulent charges and further protect your account going forward.

For more information about how credit monitoring can help protect your finances, contact Identity Guard today.