April means slightly warmer temperatures and a much-needed dose of sunshine. For many Canadians, the start of Spring means shopping online for warmer weather staples or perhaps thinking about summer travel destinations. As you shop online and book travel, it’s important to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
March was Fraud Prevention Month, a government initiative that helps Canadians become better educated about the risks of fraud and identity theft and learn how to stay vigilant. But fraud can happen anywhere and at any time – and preventing fraud requires smart, every day, year-round habits.
Capital One Canada published a new study about fraud and identity theft, and the good news is that many more Canadians (93%) are taking measures to better secure their personal information compared to the previous year (53%), such as protecting their PIN or changing their passwords. However, most of the study’s respondents were skeptical about companies’ abilities to protect their personal information – only 11% felt that large companies were doing enough.
While Canadians are skeptical about the corporate safeguards put in place to protect consumers, there are a number of ways to be proactive and leverage some of the tools available to help prevent fraud. For example, some credit cards have smart features built right into them, such as two-way fraud alerts that prompt a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response through push notifications (email or SMS) that allow users to verify transactions in real time.
These kinds of security measures are especially important as more Canadians choose to shop online for convenience and speed. Interestingly, the study found that that 63% of Canadians have chosen to store or save their credit card information with at least one retailer to ensure a faster checkout process.
Digital interactions are widespread and commonplace, so it’s worth asking your credit card provider if you have benefits like liability protection against unauthorized purchases available to you. You can also use online tools to help you monitor transactions, or take advantage of free tools that allow you to check your credit score. Unexpected changes to your score can be an early indicator of fraudulent activity, for example. Credit Keeper from Capital One is a free tool that lets you check your credit score for free, whether or not you’re a customer, and receive updates on changes to your score.
By understanding the features your credit card provider or financial institutions offer, you can be better equipped to address any unauthorized purchases and better protect yourself against fraud and identity theft.
For more information on protecting yourself from fraud, and what to do if you suspect you’ve been targeted, be sure to read Carrot’s first blog post on four essential ways to prevent fraud or visit Capital One.
What are some of the steps you take to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft? Share with us below!