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.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Vernon senior cycling program wheels into second year

Special ‘trishaws’ saw 500 rides and 4,200 kilometres in debut year

BX Elementary to receive City of Vernon sewer services

Mayor says the school will be required to join the City of Vernon

Big White’s $10-Million housing project helps attract employees

The resort is building four new buildings in Black Forest

A Gardener’s Diary: Prepping seedlings in winter

Before planting seedlings, pots must be scrubbed clean

Vernon gallery hosts Art After Dark

Event hosted by the Vernon Public Art Gallery Friday, Feb. 28

Neskonlith chief lays blame for ongoing protests at feet of Justin Trudeau

Secwepemc leader hopes others will follow CP’s lead in asking prime minister to talk to Wet’suwet’en

Human rights complaint against Shuswap grocer dismissed

Former Food Network competitor was scheduled to work on her Sabbath

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

COLUMN: Forestry no longer close to top of B.C.’s economy

Our reactions to a forestry downturn reflect the past, not the present

Caught on camera: Police release video of man who allegedly stole seaplane in Vancouver

Police say the man broke into the Harbour Air terminal and then got into one of the seaplanes in the harbour

51 health professionals send letter to Trudeau, Horgan panning northern B.C. pipeline

They point to studies about the health and climate change risks from pipeline

UPDATE: Firefighter injured in West Kelowna structure fire

West Kelowna fire crews responded to the blaze at 9:53 p.m. Tuesday

Most Read