Thank you to Capital One for sponsoring this post.
One of the best things I’m seeing online and among my friends is an awareness and craving for financial literacy. Over coffee, we’ve talked about how we learned about polynomials and the fall of the Roman Empire in high school (all very cool stuff, teacher friends!) but most of us didn’t learn about how credit works, or why it’s important to monitor your credit score. For many people, they learn these things the hard way.
Fraud Prevention Month is an annual campaign that helps educate Canadians on how to protect themselves and recognize fraud. It’s important because nearly 4 in 10 Canadians have either been a victim of or know someone who has been affected by fraud or identity theft. To this end, a recent study by Capital One Canada revealed that 93% of Canadians are taking measures to protect
themselves from fraud – this is a huge increase from the 2018 results which reported just 53% of Canadians taking action. This is so good to see!
Here’s the not so good news from that same survey. Only 11% of Canadians feel large companies are doing enough to safeguard their personal information. The overwhelming majority (91%) don’t have a clear understanding of what large companies are doing to protect their personal information and only 1 in 3 Canadians (31%) believe existing security measures are strong enough to
prevent thieves and fraudsters from gathering personal information.
It’s a tough position for both companies and their clients. It’s clear that the study shows confidence in companies security measures is low, but convenience and speed matter when it comes to making online purchases. In the past year, 63% of Canadians have chosen to store or save their credit card information with at least one online retailer for faster checkout, but 89% of respondents felt that companies could do more to safeguard that information.
To help Canadians protect themselves against fraud and identity theft, Capital One suggests the following:
1. Understand and take advantage of your credit card’s features.
Many credit cards offer liability protection against unauthorized use of your card. Several also offer opt-in fraud detection features like two-way fraud alerts and purchase notifications. If these are available to you, make sure you’re taking advantage of them.
2. Work with your bank or card issuer to help avoid fraud.
Report your lost wallet or card right away! 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.
3. Monitor your credit score.
You should know if someone tries to open a new loan account in your name or, even worse, has used your information to default on a loan (this actually happened to a family member of mine and she’s still dealing with it through credit agencies!) Take advantage of free credit monitoring tools like Credit Keeper from Capital One. Credit Keeper provides users with weekly credit score updates to encourage frequent monitoring for suspicious activity, and offers information on open and closed accounts on
your credit report. Those unexpected changes to credit scores can be an early indication of fraudulent activity on one or more accounts.
4. Vigilantly protect your information!
Keep your credit card numbers, PINs, login information and passwords private. Always be vigilant about unsolicited or unusual phone calls, text messages or emails which may be phishing scams (fraudulent attempts to steal your information).
For more information on fraud protection and what to do if you’ve been targeted for fraud, visit www.capitalone.ca/fraudprevention