It’s Fraud Prevention Month in Canada!

14 March 2016

March in Canada is Fraud Prevention Month! Since 2004, the Competition Bureau has spearheaded a month-long campaign by public, private and nonprofit groups to remind Canadians not only how to protect themselves from the omnipresent threat of fraud and scams, but also of the resources that are available to them if they become a victim of one of these crimes.

There is no typical fraud victim in Canada. Year after year, people continue to believe that fraud could happen to anyone but themselves, just to be blindsided when identity theft happens to them. This concept of a completely even playing field, where any one person has just as much chance of being targeted for fraud as anyone else, is why we here at Identity Guard emphasize taking proactive steps to protect your identity during Fraud Prevention Month. Exercising your agency over how and when you share your personal information can shift the field and bolster your fraud protection.

Fraud protection dos and don’ts

  • Do regularly check your bank statements and credit report. Keep an eye out for unexpected transactions that could indicate someone has unauthorized access to your accounts.
  • Do ask callers or sales representatives for further documentation when necessary. This could include information to prove they are who they claim to be, more details about the organization they represent or an explanation of why they need the personal information they are requesting.
  • Do shred documents that contain personal or financial information, such as Social Insurance Numbers, bank account details or medical records.
  • Do hang up the phone or delete emails if you are being contacted by someone who is pressuring you to reveal any of your personal information.
  • Do report fraud if you become a victim.
  • Don’t click on email links from unknown senders, or even click on unexpected links from people you know. These links could trigger your computer to download malicious software that could collect passwords, browsing information or files from your computer and send them to fraudsters. Or, they could lead to fake websites designed to steal your personal details or login credentials. If you receive an unexpected link or request from a company you typically do business with, call it directly to confirm the email is legitimate.
  • Don’t share your personal or financial information with anyone you have never met, especially over the phone or via email. This includes individuals you may have connected with on dating sites, or even people who call you and claim to be a relative. In the case of the latter, ask them a question only that person would know the answer to in order to verify their claim.
  • Don’t sign up for any sweepstakes or contests that promise a large prize for a relatively small purchase or fee. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Don’t share passwords between your accounts. Make unique unpredictable passwords for all of your accounts.

Unfortunately, there is no way to completely avoid becoming a victim of fraud or ID theft, even if you diligently follow the above suggestions. For those moments, credit monitoring services can have your back. Monitoring your credit file when you can’t, a credit monitoring company will notify you when it detects certain activity that may indicate fraud, giving you a chance to freeze your accounts and stop the fraudsters in their tracks.