Prevent Financial Fraud.
If I could go back a few years ago and change one thing, it would be getting educated about the best ways to protect myself from financial fraud.
It would have also been not to make the mistake of leaving my wallet in my vehicle. I thought I had it hidden and out of view but the thief thought otherwise. They took my wallet and everything inside of it and of course maxed out all my credit cards. It took a while to get everything figured out, but I eventually did.
Now, if only I would have done some research into financial fraud prevention, I could have avoided the whole incident.
In more recent years, I’ve also had my debit card compromised by thieves using devices to scan all the information on my card. Luckily, my bank called me and cancelled my card and issued a new one and nothing was taken.
When it came to the “wallet in car” instance, I was young and careless, it can happen to anyone and at any time. Thieves are tricky nowadays and have ways to get your information with little effort. As our summer spending starts to rise, here are some tips from me and from Capital One Canada for helping prevent financial fraud.
1. Don’t leave anything in your vehicle
You may think times are safe, but you truly never know when someone will break into your vehicle. I have always brought everything inside since this incident. Believe me, that was a hard lesson learned. Not to mention, people just aren’t trustworthy and you never know what someone’s intentions are.
2. Use a strong pin for your debit card
You may think that your pin is strong, but thieves are smart. My advice is to ensure that your pin is as strong as possible. It’s amazing how something this simple can help prevent fraud in the long run.
Never use personal information such as a birthday, address, SIN number or telephone number as your PIN, and use a different PIN for each card. When paying at the store, cover the keypad! Most importantly, never share your PIN with anyone.
3. Always protect your own personal information
When it comes to preventing fraud, your personal information is one of the first things you should protect. Don’t give out your info to anyone and be careful when you’re paying for items online. You never know who will be out there to steal your information.
4. Get a copy of your Credit Report.
Knowing where your credit stands is incredibly important for all Canadians. But, often it is something we don’t think of doing. In fact, 87% of Canadians are not reviewing their credit report every year. You can get a free credit report once a year from the major credit reporting agencies like TransUnion by going to their website. Taking a look can alert you new accounts opened up in your name by fraudsters.
5. Watch out for Phishing emails.
Fraudsters often use emails as a way to find victims. My rule of thumb is if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Keep your eyes open for typos, grammatical errors and a sense of urgency. If you are ever unsure, open a new browser window and visit the legitimate site to see if there is anything really wrong with your account, or call the company. Never give out any information over email and don’t click any suspicious links.
6. Be vigilant and report it as soon as you can
It’s incredibly important to for you to remain vigilant when it comes to your account. The more often you check your account for transactions, the more likely you are to catch fraudulent charges quicker. The earlier the charges are reported; the easier it is for your credit card company to investigate them.
Banks like Capital One Canada offer features such as real-time alerts and push notifications to help customers identify suspicious purchase activity early on.
7. Preventative care is always best
Just like preventative care is best for everything else in life, it’s also best when you’re trying to protect your financials. A study from Capital One showed many Canadians (47%) have shared their credit card number over the phone, via email or through the mail, which again leaves them open to potential fraud.
What is more surprising is that 49% of Canadians use the same PIN for multiple cards, opening them up to potential account takeovers.
Of course, there are always scenarios where you did everything you could to protect yourself. However, it wasn’t enough. I love that Capital One is all for helping Canadians protect themselves against fraud. If you have one of their credit cards, they have smart choices built right in – which includes fraud protection and detection services.
If you have a Capital One Canada Mastercard, you should know you have access to the following protection:
- Two Way Fraud Alerts – You will get alerts if there’s suspicious behaviour and you will be able to flag the transaction for review.
- Second Look – flagging potential suspicious behaviour such as a duplicate transaction
- MasterCard Zero Liability – If someone steals your card or you lose it, you’re protected from unauthorized purchases.
Keep this tip in mind from Capital One: consumers are the first line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself against fraud. Capital One’s research shows that many Canadians – millennials in particular – aren’t doing enough to protecting themselves.
We can all do a little bit more to protect ourselves and prevent financial fraud from happening to us.
Please visit capitalone.ca/fraudprevention to learn more about preventing fraud and what you can do to protect yourself.
How do you prevent financial fraud in your everyday life?
Let me know, til then—cheers m’deres!
Note: Thanks to Capital One for partnering with me on this post and teaching me more about fraud prevention.
Nancy Polanco is a freelance journalist and editor of lifestyle blog Whispered Inspirations. A social media junkie, a travel-lover with insatiable wanderlust and an aficionado for fun gadgets, good eats, and entertainment. You can find her on Instagram and everywhere else under @WhispersInspire.