GUEST COLUMN: Protect your finances

A Vernon financial advisor provides some advice on identity theft

Bruce Shepherd is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Vernon.

In 2014 alone, almost 15 thousand Canadians were victimized by identity theft, according to the Canadian Anti-FraudCentre Annual Statistic Report. What can you do to guard your identity and protect yourself from potential financial losses?

Here are some ideas to consider:

Review your statements. Closely review the monthly statements from your checking and other financial accounts. If you findany unfamiliar charges, contact your bank or other financial services provider immediately.

Order your credit reports. The two credit reporting agencies TransUnion Canada and Equifax Canada keep records ofyour credit history. Make sure your name, address and other information are correct on your credit report, and if you findold or inaccurate information, have it removed.

Place a fraud alert. If you suspect you have become a victim of Identity theft, place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports bycontacting either of the two credit reporting agencies.

Feed your shredder. Shred all old bank and investment statements, applications for new credit cards and any otherdocuments that contain personal information.

Destroy digital data. If you have a variety of financial accounts, you’re not just creating a paper trail you’re alsoestablishing a digital footprint. So, when you sell or otherwise dispose of a computer system or hard drive, you may want totake steps to destroy personal data. You might think that simply deleting it would be sufficient, but tech-savvy identitythieves can undelete files or recover information from a formatted drive. However, products are available that allow you tocompletely wipe out data on hard drives.

Change passwords. It’s a good idea to change your Internet passwords every so often, especially those passwords thatprovide access to financial accounts.

Leave your SIN card home. Snagging someone’s social insurance number is a real catch for identity thieves, so doeverything you can to thwart them. And you can start by leaving your social security card safely at home after all, there’sprobably never a good reason to bring it out, anyway. In fact, be wary of anyone, or any business, that asks for your SocialInsurance Number, either in person or online. Except for a few obvious exceptions, such as your tax preparer, mostreputable businesses don’t need to know anything about your Social Insurance information.

Watch for phishers. If you’ve ever got an e-mail, supposedly from your bank, advising you that your account will be “frozen”unless you provide personal details about your account, it’s a good bet that someone is phishing for this information andthey’re using the freezing threat as bait. What’s particularly alarming is that these phishers have gotten quite good atduplicating logos and using official-sounding language. However, a legitimate bank would never threaten you this way withan e-mail, so, if you get such a message, contact the bank’s fraud department.

You can go a long way toward protecting yourself against identity theft by following these suggestions so put them towork soon.

Bruce Shepherd is a financial advisor with Edward Jones in Vernon. This article is provided for information purposes only.Consult with a professional advisor before implementing a strategy.


Just Posted

PHOTOS: Armstrong MetalFest rocks Hassen

Big crowds gather for popular two-day annual heavy metal music festival

UPDATED: Lane closed after fatal collision on Highway 97 east of Falkland

A man in his 60s is dead after a single vehicle crash on July 15

Vernon golf event lands Hockey Night in Canada analyst

Kelly Hrudey to emcee 10th annual VJH Foundation Charity Classic golf tourney Sept. 8

Classic vehicles cruise main street Vernon and Polson Park

Annual Vernon Cruise-In Car Show draws hundreds both days at the two locations

Five straight for Armstrong Shamrocks

Shamrocks win Rowcliffe Cup Thompson Okanagan Senior Lacrosse League title with 7-2 win over Kelowna

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Single vehicle roll over in Okanagan sends one to hospital

One person sent to hospital with non life-threatening injuries

Baby locked in car at Okanagan YMCA

The baby was rescued quickly

Too much time on social media can hurt teens’ mental health: study

Researchers conducted a four-year survey of more than 3,800 adolescents between Grades 7 and 11

Super League Triathlon in the Okanagan cancelled

It was confirmed Monday next month’s planned Super League Triathlon has been cancelled

Advocates want charges in horse deaths during Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races

Chuckwagon races are a nightly spectacle during the Stampede, a 10-day annual celebration of western life

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Most Read