Sometimes everything in Life feels like a fight: the fight to be first in line, the fight to beat rush hour traffic, the fight to pay the bills on time, or even the fight to maintain your mental sanity on a daily basis. But what about the challenge to protect your identity and your credit? There is nothing worse than when someone steals your information pretending to be you and applying for a new credit card, or changing information on your existing card, and/or when your credit card is used to make transactions you didn’t authorize.
In a recent survey conducted by Capital One, 71% of Canadians are aware of the impact identity theft can have on their personal finances, including their credit score. A little more than half (53%) are taking some of the recommended steps to protect themselves against ID theft, including measures like better managing their social media account settings, putting them at risk of fraud.
Like the routines of personal training and/or getting into the ring at your local boxing club, your personal information and livelihood are always at risk as you process multiple transactions, either with the gloves on or off. Most Canadians actively protect themselves against fraud by not sharing their P.I.N. or by regularly monitoring their online banking and credit card accounts. But only a small number of Canadians regularly check their credit report— as little as 21% of the population. And how do things look generationally speaking? Millennials are hyper-aware of the impact of identity theft when compared to Baby Boomers. Their biggest concerns are the ability to make a milestone purchase like a house or condominium and the impact on their mental health. Baby Boomers, not so much.
THE 3-HIT KNOCKOUT COMBO
Mastering any form of Self-Defense or Martial Arts takes a little money as well as a lot of blood, sweat and practice. But staying on top of your finances and credit score shouldn’t be as grueling. Since 2004, Fraud Prevention Month has taken place every March as an annual education and awareness campaign encouraging Canadians to recognize, reject and report fraud. Canadians need to protect themselves and their finances. Capital One has a selection of quick-tools and tips that can help with tactical and defensive choices in protecting personal information in the battle against ID theft and transaction fraud:
Take advantage of Credit Card features.
Many credit cards have opt-in fraud detection features, like two-way fraud alerts, purchase notifications, and more. If these options are available to you, take advantage of them.
Report fraud immediately.
Report your lost wallet, stolen purse or missing credit card right away. Call your bank and make them aware of this loss. Most banks have measures in place to protect your account and can put a temporary block on your debit or credit card until you find it or confirm you need a replacement. It’s also a good idea to update the passwords you use for your banking and credit card accounts, in case you believe that information could have also been compromised.
Monitor your credit score.
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. Free credit monitoring tools like Credit Keeper* from Capital One (available to select Capital One customers), indicate recent inquiries on your credit file, allowing you to vigilantly watch for unexpected activity. According to Brent Reynolds, Chief Customer Experience Officer at Capital One Canada, "Contrary to popular belief, checking your credit score will not impact it and use of a free monitoring tool encourages early fraud detection."
VICTORY AND THE AFTERMATH
Like any task that requires precision, energy and devout attention to go against the odds and come out victorious, active prevention from identity theft and transaction fraud is ultimately important yet, few people are adequately protecting themselves. But with a little help from financial corporations like Capital One, there are certainly ways in which Canadians can condition themselves to face the threats of ID theft and fraud, coming out swinging, and winning.
For more information, please visit capitalone.ca/fraudprevention.
*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.