TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Mar 2, 2015) - As part of Fraud Prevention Month activities in March, Equifax Canada offers the following helpful tips to assist people in safeguarding their personal data and identity:
- Be Vigilant - If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is! Be cautious of emails and websites that promise incredible deals and monetary windfalls.
- Check your credit report at least once every year, and report any discrepancies to the bureau immediately. Consider signing up for ongoing monitoring of your credit file for potentially fraudulent activity. Take steps to detect identity theft early, which helps minimize its impact.
- Secure your computer - Start by activating your firewall. Firewalls block connections to unknown or bogus sites, and will keep out certain types of viruses and hackers. Also, use anti-virus software and keep it up-to-date.
- Use strong passwords online - Make passwords more complicated by combining letters, numbers and mixing in special characters; change them regularly.
- Secure your mobile devices - Be aware that your mobile device is vulnerable to viruses and hack attempts. Only download applications from reliable and trusted sources.
- Do not give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact. Any credit card payments should be made on sites that are reputable and secure, with a "padlock" icon located at the top of your browser window.
- Safeguard personal information in your home, especially if you are going on vacation, or having service work done there, employ outside help, or have a roommate.
- Protect your mail. Bring in your mail daily. Immediately forward or re-route it if you move, or change your mailing address.
- Shred all documents you are discarding, including pre-approved personal credit applications, insurance forms, bank cheques and statements, and other financial information. An identity thief can easily pick through your garbage or recycling bins.
- Review all your transactions. Regularly review your financial statements to ensure that all transactions are authorized, and report any missing or fraudulent ones immediately.
Fraud is the most common property violation, accounting for 54 per cent of all cybercrimes reported to police according to Statistics Canada. Fraud-related crime in Canada now costs the country between $15-billion and $30-billion annually.
"The technology we've come to rely upon to make our lives easier can make us the target of identity thieves," explains Tim Ashby, Vice President, Personal Solutions at Equifax Canada. "Data breaches continue to be a pervasive problem in our digital age, and we expect that trend to continue. Armed with the right knowledge, however, consumers can pro-actively take more control of their information, identity and finances."
If someone suspects or knows that they are a victim of identity theft or fraud, they should contact their local police and Equifax Canada toll free at: 1-800-465-7166.
To learn more about the tools to help prevent fraud and identity theft, please visit: www.equifax.ca
Equifax is a global leader in consumer, commercial and workforce information solutions that provides businesses of all sizes and consumers with insight and information they can trust. Equifax organizes and assimilates data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide. The company's significant investments in differentiated data, its expertise in advanced analytics to explore and develop new multi-source data solutions, and its leading-edge proprietary technology enables it to create and deliver unparalleled customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 19 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. In 2014, Equifax was nominated as a Bloomberg BusinessWeek Top 50 company; its CIO was listed as one of the top 100 by CIO magazine; and the company was named to the Fintech 100 list, was recognized as a top 20 company to work for by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and was named a 2014 InformationWeek Elite 100 Winner. For more information, please visit www.equifax.com.