At somewhere between 10 and 30 billion dollars annually, fraud-related crimes net as much as drug-related crimes in Canada. As a consumer or business owner, you can take several steps to improve fraud management and protect yourself from identity theft. Credit card companies only require victims to assume $50 of responsibility or less in the case of identity theft. While this doesn’t seem like much, resolving all the issues that come along with identity theft is a lengthy process with many headaches along the way. Equifax has some tips to protect you and your company from becoming a victim.
Check credit report
Every credit bureau is required to offer you one free credit report per year. You should take advantage of this opportunity. Look for any lines of credit or credit inquiries that you are not familiar with. If you find a cause for concern, make sure to put a fraud alert on your account and begin the process of disputing the item on your credit report.
Using online banking
The quickest way to identify credit card fraud is to check your account regularly. Examine all of your financial accounts to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized transactions. Banks and financial institutions have sophisticated systems in place to prevent hackers from obtaining sensitive information. You can protect yourself further by paying your bills online through your bank’s online bill pay feature. This is better than sending checks in the mail, as they may be stolen by identity thieves.
Watching for scams
Fraudsters’ common tricks include calling your phone number to tell you that there is a problem with your bank account. The caller then asks you to verify your identity so they can help you resolve the problem. Be wary of giving out personal information to callers or Web sites unless you know they are legitimate and secure. If you are purchasing something online, look for the approved security symbol and don’t continue unless the Web site is properly encrypted.
Limiting unnecessary exposure
Don’t walk around with your social security card or expired credit cards. Doing so is unnecessary and provides more info to someone who is looking to steal your identity. Cover the screen on your phone or computer if you are checking financial information in public.
For more information on fraud management and prevention tips, go to Equifax.