While it is impossible to completely prevent identity fraud or theft, consumers can take preventative measures to reduce their personal risk and may consider placing a fraud prevention alert on their credit file. This preventive alert informs creditors that the consumer's personal information may have been lost or stolen and suggests that they validate that the credit application is legitimate. To place a fraud prevention alert on your credit file, call Equifax toll-free at 1-800-465-7166.
Consumers who are aware of potential threats, and who take preventive steps to protect their personal information are significantly less likely to become victims. In addition to placing an alert on your Equifax credit file, here are some of the easiest and most effective ways to combat identity theft:
...Handle your financial accounts and transactions online - Consumers who frequently monitor their accounts online are most likely to uncover fraud the fastest.
...Check your bank, credit card or other financial account web sites for suspicious or unauthorized activity.
...Avoid mailing cheques to pay bills; instead pay bills online and take advantage of new remote deposit cheque imaging services and online banking sites. Install and regularly update firewall, anti-spyware, anti-virus and browser security software.
...Limit the information you share on social media sites - Consumers who have used social media tools for at least five years are twice as likely to be victims of identity theft.
...Never provide personal information unless you initiate the contact.
...Do not click web links when responding to e-mails or text messages, rather go to the site directly.
...Do not respond to automated phone messages or callers prompting you to dial a number or provide personal information to resolve a bank account issue.
...Shop on secure web sites - Online retailers should display an approved security symbol and the transaction should be conducted on an encrypted site.
...Reduce unnecessary access to your personal information wherever possible - Do not carry Social Insurance cards or unused credit cards. Be aware of your surroundings when transacting in public. Cover your keypad and any screens that display sensitive data.
Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 500 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or has investments in 17 countries and is a member of Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol EFX. For more information, please visit www.equifax.ca/reducefraud.