Toronto ON – A recent TD Canada Trust poll found many Canadians are leaving themselves open to fraud and theft on a daily basis. In fact, 87 per cent of respondents are concerned about debit card fraud and 91 per cent were afraid of identity theft. With March Break around the corner, many families will be going on vacation leaving their bank accounts and homes vulnerable to thieves.
“It is important to notify your banks, credit card providers, home alarm monitoring company and any other resources before you leave for vacation,” says Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, Inc. “Returning to find your house vandalized, computer hacked or bank accounts compromised are the last things you want to welcome you home from vacation.”
March is Fraud Prevention Month, and Consolidated Credit wants to remind Canadians leaving for vacation to reduce their risk of fraud and theft by implementing these safety tips:
- Computer – reduce the risk of professional hackers gaining access to your personal information by:
- Signing out of all websites you visit regularly
- Terminating connections to online banking sites
- Using a lock function with a password-protection feature on start-up
- Making sure your security software is up-to-date
- Turning off all computers
- Home – protect your most important asset by:
- Asking neighbours to be on the look out for suspicious activity
- Contacting your home alarm monitoring company
- Using automatic timers for lights and radios
- Placing all valuables out of sight, not only jewellery but laptops, small electronic devices, etc.
- Bank account(s) – prevent your account(s) from being frozen by:
- Advising the bank you will be away on vacation
- Letting the bank know you are leaving the province or country
- Locking up your cheque book and any debit cards you will not be using
- Reducing the withdrawal limit at the ATM
- Credit Card(s) – avoid being a victim of credit card fraud by:
- Notifying your provider you will be away and of the location of your vacation
- Recording your card number(s) and keeping it in a safe place in case it is lost or stolen
- Locking up any credit card(s) you won’t be needing
Consolidated Credit’s publication Identity Theft is available free to download.