Fabulous Frugal Finds

There’s Only One Me (There Better Be!)

This post is sponsored by Capital One Canada.

My daughter is six years old and sometimes takes great joy in imitating her older sister, copying her words and mannerisms in that age-old game of copycat, infuriating the older sister. Every day we see people copying the work, photos, or style of others. Whether either situation is a compliment is debatable but, at the very least, we can say these instances of copycats are harmless. When it isn’t flattering, funny or cute, is when you become a victim of identity theft in the real world.

I’ve read about identity theft online, but haven’t had a personal experience with it myself (thank goodness!) until it happened to a family member of mine. A millennial relative had recently moved to a big city away from her family and I wanted to send her a little something in the mail. As she had recently moved, I also sent her a quick text to confirm the mailing address. Unfortunately, she didn’t pay for mail forwarding and her mail was then left in the building’s mail room which was accessible to all residents. We know where this story is going, right?

Fast forward a year later and a collection agency began contacting her for arrears in payments (4 months’ worth) on a $36,000 vehicle she did not take out a loan on. Someone used her identity to secure a car loan in her name, and then actually made payments from their own checking account for months before falling in arrears. Crazy, right? Thankfully, the loan and theft resulted in the right people being held responsible, but she was very lucky.

She’s not alone.  March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Capital One recently conducted a survey asking Canadians about their understanding of the impact of transaction fraud and identity theft as well as the precautions they take to protect themselves. The majority of Canadians are aware of the impact identity theft can have on their personal finances, including their credit score (71%). However, only half (53%) are taking some of the recommended steps to protect themselves against identity theft, including measures like managing their social media account settings, putting them at risk of fraud.

Millennials, like my family member, are hyper-aware of the impact of identity theft when compared to baby boomers, however, only a small number of Canadians have enabled transactional push notifications on their mobile device (20%) or regularly check their credit report (21%).

Capital One offers a few tips to help consumers protect against identity theft and transaction fraud:

For more information on fraud protection and what to do if you’ve been targeted for fraud, visit www.capitalone.ca/fraudprevention

25 Comments

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  • Thanks very much for the reminder that March is Fraud Prevention Month and sharing the story about your family member’s dreadful experience. We all have to be vigilant in guarding our personal information, to ensure that we don’t encounter identity theft.

  • Yes, us older folks are much less cognizant of identity theft unless it has happened to us. More trusting or just less savvy?

  • I honestly don’t think much about the possibility of identify theft. Thank you for bringing the seriousness of it to my attention.

    • With everything else we worry about in a day, it can be forgotten for sure. It’s great that they have a month for awareness to bring it to our attention for sure.

  • It is pretty scary! My credit card has been compromised several times but luckily Visa has picked up on it and cancelled my card!

  • I’ve only had my credit card used fraudulently once and it was caught very quickly but it is an awful feeling to know someone is pretending to be you.

  • I always make sure to log out of all my accounts especially when i do my online banking. you never know!!

  • Great points. I have had friends who have experienced problems with fraud on their accounts and seen the problems they have gone through. Banks usually resolve it for you but it takes weeks and those are weeks you have no access to your money or other accounts. I am pretty careful after hearing others horror stories about identity theft.

  • Yikes! I haven’t had any experience with identity theft (and I hope it remains that way!). This story sure makes me glad I paid for mail forwarding when we left our condo several years back!

  • Great tips – preventing identity fraud is a worthy endeavor because it’s such a hassle (and can be quite scary) if it happens to you!

  • Good reminders. I think we all get lulled into a false sense of security when we haven’t felt under threat for a while.

  • Great information, it is scary to think how many ways there are for someone to assume your identity. Definitely need to be careful!