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Don't be a victim — protect your PIN from fraudsters


Published: 06/02/2016

by Arielle Duke

For more information see how to protect yourself and protecting yourself from identity fraud.

March is Fraud Prevention Month, so consider taking all precautions necessary to arm yourself against identity thieves eager to gain access to your financial information and bank accounts.

One of the easiest steps you can take is to guard your personal identification number (PIN) from thieves who would use it to make unauthorized transactions on your accounts.

Canadians use their PINs daily to make credit and debit purchases, and simply covering the keypad with your hand is a good first step to keep your PIN secret. You can also make your PIN difficult to steal by creating one that's hard to guess, and by changing it often.

Did you also know the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services provides guidelines about personal identification numbers? The code states a PIN can't be a combination of the cardholder's name, telephone number, date of birth, address, or social insurance number.

Here are some other steps to consider to protect your PIN.

• Do not write your PIN on the back of your debit or credit card.

• Check your accounts regularly for unauthorized transactions, and notify your financial institution as soon as you discover one.

• Put important identification – your social insurance number, birth certificate, and passport – in a safe place.

• Shred all documents that contain your personal information.

• Share your personal information only with companies you trust and only when necessary.

• If you will be away from home for a while, arrange for a neighbour or friend you trust to pick up your mail to prevent others from stealing it — and your identity.

If you become a victim of fraud, contact your financial institution. Also, notify Canada's two credit reporting agencies (TransUnion and Equifax) to place a fraud alert on your file.

For more information see how to protect yourself and protecting yourself from identity fraud.

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