Louise had some nasty surprises waiting for her when she got back from her month-long trip abroad. Just before returning, she learned that her credit card had been cloned. Thankfully, her financial institution had detected it.
But that wasn't the end of it….she also didn't have any mail. When she inquired at the post office, she discovered she had been the victim of identity theft. Someone had sent in a change of address in her name! She quickly contacted her financial institution to cancel the new credit card she had just ordered to replace the old cloned one. What other important pieces of mail might have been rerouted?
March may be Fraud Prevention Month in Canada, but fraud prevention is something you need to practice every day. No one is safe and prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your financial information.
Prevention above all
Identity theft happens when criminals manage to steal your personal information (e.g. credit card number, driver's license number, etc.) and use it to buy products and services in your name. As the bills from the fraudster's spending spree are being sent to a different address, you won't know that you're piling up debts. So, changing the address of a potential victim is one way that criminals can steal personal information.
How can you protect yourself? When you're getting of rid of documents that contain personal information, like statements for instance, it's a good idea to shred them so no one can read them. Always keep your debit or credit card PINs confidential. The same goes for the password you use to access the Desjardins Financial Security secure sites (for group insurance participants or administrators, or group retirement savings, etc.).
Criminals can also get your personal information through phishing. Have you ever received an email asking you to provide confidential information, like an account number or PIN? Most of these emails urge victims to quickly provide the information by replying to the email or going on fake websites. The email will often display a logo that looks like the logo of a well-known financial institution or other company. The fake website may also look like the original and legitimate site.
This type of technological fraud is a real nuisance for individuals and companies alike. You have to be extremely careful when someone asks you for personal information by email. Desjardins Financial Security and other Desjardins Group entities never send emails asking for personal or confidential information. If you receive this type of message, destroy it or forward it to Desjardins.
Information about fraud
No one is safe from fraud. Prevention is the best way to protect yourself and your personal financial information. You'll find useful tips about Phishing on the Desjardins Financial Security website, and information about other types of fraud and how to protect yourself in the Don’t be a victim section of the Desjardins site.
Some good general information is also available on the Financial Consumer Agency and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre websites.