Archive for March, 2015

How to Protect Yourself From the Damage of Identity Theft

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

How to Protect Yourself From the Damage of Identity Theft | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County real estate | Barry TwynamThere’s no question technology has improved our lives, whether we live in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County, the Edmonton region or elsewhere. It has streamlined communications, made it easy to buy the things we want, and lets us manage our finances wherever we are.

Technology, however, has also made us vulnerable to hackers and identity thieves who prowl the Internet 24/7, attempting to steal personal information including social insurance numbers, usernames and passwords, driver’s licenses, passport info, signatures, bank accounts and PINs. According to the most recent report from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, in 2009 more than 11,000 Canadians fell victim to identity theft, with a loss of more than 10 million dollars.

“There are many steps Canadians can and should take to protect themselves from identity theft,” says Ryan Michel, senior vice president and chief risk officer at Allstate Canada. “You can get started by adding personal record management to your annual spring cleaning check-list and by making a point to shred old bills, receipts, statements and personal documents.”

Here are five other suggestions:

  1. Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through mail or the Internet unless you initiated the contact and trust the company.
  2. Don’t carry your social insurance number with you and don’t ever give it out unless absolutely necessary (tax and employment purposes).
  3. Review your credit card and bank statements monthly and look for unusual patterns. If your bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with creditors.
  4. Don’t use easy-to-guess passwords or PINs like your birth date or address. A combination of letters and numbers is best. Change your passwords regularly and consider subscribing to a service that encrypts passwords for added protection.
  5. Speak to your insurance provider about home insurance options that cover expenses associated with identity theft.

And if you do become a victim of identity theft:

• Call the police immediately and ask for a copy of the police report.
• Contact your financial institution and other companies that provide services to you to cancel credit cards and have new ones issued.
• Contact credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
• Change your online passwords.

Michel points out that additional tips and helpful information are available at www.allstate.ca/learningcentre.

March is Fraud Prevention Month and it presents an opportunity for Canadians to be more proactive about protecting themselves online.  Check out The Little Black Book of Scams from the Competition Bureau of Canada for tons of information about how to protect yourself and your family, and put an end to scammers.

Questions or comments about the information in this article?  Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at barry@barryt.ca, or contact me here.

(Most of the content of this article courtesy of www.newscanada.com)

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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