Along with all the singing, sparkling, and holiday shopping, comes a higher risk of identity theft. Thousands of Canadians fall victim to this growing crime, every year; with losses totalling into the millions of dollars. Most Steers Home Insurance Policy-Holders, are already covered – free of charge – for up to $30,000 in Identity Theft Protection. Check your policy for this coverage and/or ask your Steers representative for more information. This coverage has no deductible and covers a wide range of services not covered by most credit card companies and retailers. Still, no one wants to go through the inconvenience, time and grief of having their identity stolen. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to safeguard your identity:
- Always SHRED all statements, bills and mail containing your personal or financial information, before discarding.
- Take ONLY the cards you really need out with you, when shopping.
- Keep purchase receipts and CHECK them against your statements, thoroughly.
- Shop only on SECURE websites: Never enter any financial information online if you see a broken-key or open padlock symbol.
- Never divulge your PIN numbers to anyone – or store them where they can be found.
- Be AWARE of the kind of personal information you share with others, including on social media, and put measures in place to protect it.
- NEVER respond to a phone call, email or pop-up message that asks for personal or financial information – no matter how ‘official’ it sounds.
- REVIEW your credit report annually to identify any abnormal activity: Yearly credit reports are available free upon request, from both Equifax and TransUnion.
So, take this list and check it twice – and make smart habits for a lifetime. They’ll go a long way toward safeguarding your identity this holiday season – and all throughout the year.