Capital One - Maintaining Credit
"Fraud Protection" sounds pretty heavy, doesn't it? Like you might need to be a specialist to be able to do anything about it. Not true. There are actually quite a few simple things you can do to help make it harder to steal your identity.
Be careful with your card:
- Sign your new credit card as soon as you get it and don't lend it to others.
- Carry only the ID and credit cards you actually need. Keep your social insurance card, birth certificate and passport in a secure place when you're not using them.
- If you lose your credit card, call to cancel it right away. Consider keeping the credit company's toll-free number stored in your mobile phone, just in case.
- Always protect your PIN.
- When you give your card to a merchant or server, make sure the card they give back to you is actually yours.
Keep an eye on your statements:
- Sign up for electronic billing wherever possible. It helps prevent your info from getting stolen in the mail, and it makes you more green, too! For those bills you do still get in the mail, contact the sender if they don't arrive when they should.
- Make sure to review your credit card statements every month and report any charges you don't recognize right away. This is one of the easiest ways to make sure you're not being taken advantage of.
- If you use online banking, you can, and probably should, check your statements more often to weed out any unauthorized payments or charges.
- Shred or destroy any statements and things you don't need anymore. Things like ABM and credit card receipts, receipts from online shopping, utility bills and bank statements can all be used for fraud. Also, make sure to destroy any pre-approved credit card applications you don't want so no one can use them to apply for credit in your name.
- Keep personal info secure in your home or office so it's not accessible to others.
Take care of personal info:
- Only give personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the Web to people or organizations you trust. Be sure those people or organizations are who they say they are before you share any personal information.
- Password-protect your credit card and bank accounts. Also, never keep a written record of your PIN, social insurance number or computer passwords where thieves could easily find them, such as your purse or wallet or saved on your laptop.
Check your credit report at least once a year. Make sure your credit report is accurate and includes only the activities you've authorized. Your credit report can be ordered either free by mail or online for a small charge from one of Canada's three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The vast majority of transactions are safe. Fact is, most people never have to deal with identity theft or fraud. But it's a reality and could damage your credit. Staying alert and careful goes a long way to keeping your information safe.