Helpful tips for our valued members

November 08, 2017

Simple tips to help you guard against identity theft

It is estimated that approximately one million Canadians are victims of mass marketing fraud and identity theft in Canada each year, at a cost of $10 billion.* While there are no typical descriptors for a fraud victim—it can happen to anyone—there are certainly steps that people can take to help protect themselves from fraud and identity theft.
“Scam artists are professional criminals who are actively looking for ways to gain access to your personal information,” explains Lindzee Herring, senior manager of corporate security at Envision Financial. “If anyone has ever been a victim of a stolen wallet or purse they will tell you that the financial and emotional stress is significant from having to re-establish their credit to replacing all of their identification. It’s a burden that’s best avoided if possible. Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can proactively protect yourself against identity theft.”
Here are just a few simple tips to keep in mind:

Carry only what you need
Herring advises that people should only carry what they use and need in their wallets. “You should only carry the credit and debit cards that you use and need. Everything else like your social insurance card and birth certificate should really be stored in a secure and safe place—not in your wallet.”

Mobile alerts for when you’re on the go
“Signing up for mobile alerts for online banking can help you stay on top of your account activity,” says Herring. “If transactions or activities are occurring on your account like password changes or new bill payees being added, these notifications will alert you to potential fraud immediately.

Be stingy with your personal information
“Be weary of who you’re giving your personal information or account information to,” says Herring. “You should always confirm the identity of the person making the request and under no circumstances should you give out any personal information in response to emails.

What you throw away can hurt you
One of the easiest ways that identity thieves can access your personal information is through the trash, particularly if you discard things like old credit card receipts, financial statements or even pre-approved credit card applications without tearing them up. “Shred everything –including any documents that contain any personal information,” Herring emphasizes. “Don’t forget to completely destroy the data before disposing of your old computers, hard drives or mobile device as simply deleting and reformatting hard drives are not enough. Items like CDs or DVDs should be physically destroyed before they’re thrown out.”
Unfortunately, despite taking precautions, identity theft still occurs. In such instances, Herring shares one last tip on what victims can do to take action if it does. “If you ever find yourself a victim of identity theft or have your wallet/purse stolen, the Canadian Identity Theft Support Centre is a great resource for the public. They have a checklist called the Victim Toolkit that lists all the steps a person should take if they have their identity stolen and the contact information to various agencies they should call to report the crime.”

Travelling Outside Canada?

If you're going to be travelling outside Canada
Call us in advance at 1.604.683.2434 or email us at info@vpcu.com to let us know your plans. It'll help us protect your account, and it'll help protect you from unnecessary hassle. It's also a good idea to give us phone numbers where we can reach you while you’re away or the names of people you authorize us to contact, and their phone numbers, should a problem arise and we are unable to contact you directly.

Emergency contact
If you run into an emergency with your account while you're traveling, please call us collect at 1.877.683.3628