Checklist: protecting your financial information

Learn how you can keep your financial information safe to avoid financial fraud and identity theft.

It’s important to protect your financial information. In particular, it can help you to avoid identity theft and financial fraud.

Regularly review this checklist.

Keeping your personal information safe

 ✓ Keep your personal identity information private, including your social insurance number, date of birth, driver’s license number, etc. Only carry the identity documents you need in your wallet.
 ✓ Store personal documents in a secure place.
Never reply to an email or phone call asking you to provide personal information.

Protecting your personal information online

 ✓ Frequently clear your logins, passwords and browser history, especially when using a public computer or network.
 ✓ Keep your anti-virus software up to date and regularly change your passwords.
Set better passwords using a combination of letters, characters and numbers. Or, use a password manager that will generate strong passwords that are securely encrypted.
Use secure and trusted websites. Learn to spot fake websites and verify legitimate ones.
Use multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA uses more than one verification factor to authenticate the user before you can use an application, online accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition, or a VPN. For example, having a secure code sent to your cellphone that you need to enter into your website before you can use it can help protect you.

Online shopping is increasingly popular: 82% of Canadians shopped online in 2020, compared to 73% in 2018. (Statistics Canada)

Protecting your financial information

 ✓ Review your bank and credit card statements, at least monthly, to look for mistakes or unauthorized transactions. Report any issues to your financial institution right away.
 ✓ Shred documents you don’t need, such as receipts, bank statements, ATM receipts, cheque stubs, or credit card statements.
Check your credit reportCredit report A detailed report that shows your borrowing history, including any bankruptcies. Also includes a list of companies that have asked about your credit history.+ read full definition and score annually. Report lost or stolen identification, debit cards or credit cards to your financial institution and Canada’s credit ratingCredit rating A way to score a person or company’s ability to repay money that it borrows based on credit and payment history. Your credit score is based on your borrowing history and financial situation, including your savings and debts.+ read full definition agencies immediately.

Taking these steps more frequently means you’ll build the habit and it will feel easier the more often you do it. A little bit of caution can add to your security and peace of mind.

Remember, report identity theft or any other type of personal financial fraud to police as soon as you are aware of it.

If you think that you may be a victim of investmentInvestment An item of value you buy to get income or to grow in value.+ read full definition fraud in Ontario, contact the Ontario Securities CommissionOntario Securities Commission An independent Crown corporation that is responsible for regulating the capital markets in Ontario. Its mandate is to provide protection to investors from unfair, improper or fraudulent practices, to foster fair and efficient capital markets and confidence in capital markets, and to contribute to the stability of the financial system and the reduction of systemic…+ read full definition (OSCOSC See Ontario Securities Commission.+ read full definition) at 1-877-785-1555.

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