Fraud Prevention Advice from an Attorney

We’ve all heard horror stories about fraud that’s committed by stealing a name, address, SIN, credit cards. Here’s some critical information to limit damage in case your wallet, purse or credit cards are stolen...

  1. The next time you order cheques use only your initials (instead of first name) with your last name. If someone takes your chequebook, they will not know if you sign your cheques with your initials or your first name, but your bank will know how you sign them.
  2. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead put “photo id required”
  3. When writing cheques to pay your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the, “for” line. Instead, just use the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone handling your cheque as it passes through the cheque processing channels won’t have access to it.
  4. Put your work phone # on your cheques instead if your home phone. If you have a P.O. Box, use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a P.O box, use your work address. Never have you SIN# printed on your cheques you can add if it necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.
  5. Photocopy the contents of your wallet. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will then know exactly what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopies in a safe place. Also carry a photocopy of your passport when travelling either here or abroad.

What to do if your cards are stolen...

  1. Cancel your credit cards immediately. The key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. (see above) keep those separate from your wallet or purse and handy where you can find them.
  2. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, ect were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent. This is the first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But, most important of all:
  3. Call the two national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Insurance Number. The alert means any  company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

Here are the numbers you always need to contact:

  1. Equifax Canada 1-877-249-2705
  2. TransUnion: 1-877-525-3823

Sponsored by Martin Sheppard & Fraser Law Firm