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Protect Yourself From ID Fraud

Started your Christmas shopping yet? With the busiest retail season of the year coming up, an increase in financial transactions brings an increase in opportunities for fraud artists. Keep your holiday shopping joyous by taking a few extra precautions.

Shopping in person:

Even though you will be rushed and thinking about a thousand things, try to remain alert to your surroundings.

When paying with a credit or debit card, never lose sight of your card. Whenever possible, swipe your card yourself rather than giving it to the cashier.

Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank wickets, in trash cans or at unattended gasoline pumps. Shred all paperwork that you no longer need.

Do not keep a written record of your bank PIN number(s) or your social insurance number in your wallet or purse.

Shopping online:

Shop only from your home computer – it’s much safer than shopping at a terminal in an Internet café or library.

If you plan to buy something, go directly to a store’s website by manually typing its address into your web browser. Don’t click on links in an email message even if you know who sent it.

Verify secure connections. When shopping online, do

not enter any financial information if you see a broken or open padlock symbol on your Internet browser. This means the transaction is not secure and could be intercepted by a third party. When the key is complete or the padlock is locked, your browser is indicating a secure transaction.

Consider using a company acting as escrow (reliable third party), a credit card with a low credit limit or a single-use payment card.

Unlike secure order forms on a website, email messages are not private. Do not send confi dential personal or financial information by email.

Avoid spam (unsolicited marketing email) by being careful about disclosing your email address both on-and off-line.

Monitor your bank and credit card statements online. Electronic statements allow you to review your purchases and payments as they happen rather than waiting until the end of the month to review your paper statement. Immediately report any discrepancies to your bank or to the company that issued the credit card.

Other tips:

Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery and do not leave pieces of mail lying around your residence.

Shred or otherwise destroy pre-approved credit card applications, credit card receipts, bills and related information when they’re no longer needed.

Do not provide personal information

such as your SIN, date of birth, credit card numbers or PIN over the telephone or via email. There are more secure methods for providing this valuable information when it is legitimately required.

Avoid mail or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions. Criminals involved in this type of scam typically offer you an instant prize or an award for the purpose of obtaining personal information, such as your credit card numbers.

This holiday season, be a Scrooge with your personal information. If, despite your best efforts, you feel you’ve been victimized by a scam or a fraud, you should report it immediately to the police service or jurisdiction in your area.

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